San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Air Quality

Air pollution is caused by substances (pollutants) that mix with air and reduce air quality, creating air that can be unhealthy to breathe. Air pollution is caused by natural sources like dust and man-made sources like motor vehicles and industrial facilities.

Common household products such as aerosol sprays, paints, and solvents can also cause air pollution. In lower-income, racially diverse neighborhoods in the City’s southeast area, many homes are located close to industrial facilities and major highways and transportation corridors. The air in these neighborhoods can be more polluted because of these industrial sources and heavy traffic. These pollutants can cause serious health problems, particularly for children and the elderly.

The City is working to reduce air pollution - both indoor and outdoor. We are reducing harmful products that cause air pollution in homes and offices. We are also working to reduce pollution from the thousands of automobiles and trucks that travel daily on streets and freeways.

 

Outdoor Air Quality
Outdoor air quality refers to the air surrounding us when we are outdoors.  Also known as ambient air quality, it is affected by weather conditions, wind, and the distance from major sources of pollution such as industrial facilities and the traffic on nearby freeways.

Indoor Air Quality
Common household products such as aerosol sprays, paints, and solvents can cause air pollution inside homes and offices. Indoor air pollution can pose a greater risk to health, when compared to outdoor air pollution, because we spend extended periods of time indoors breathing the same air.

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