News

Report: Bay Area air quality among worst in nation

Region ranks sixth in list of most-polluted metropolitan areas, says American Lung Association

The Bay Area has some of the worst air quality in the nation but numbers have gradually improved over the last few years, the American Lung Association said in a report released last week.

The Bay Area ranked sixth in the list of most-polluted metropolitan areas for short-term particle pollution and 10th in most-polluted cities for year-round particle pollution, according to the lung association's State of the Air 2018 report.

In Santa Clara County, the ozone level received a "F" grade and short-term particle pollution levels, measured within a 24-hour span, was given a "C" grade according to the report. The average year-round particle pollution received a passing grade.

Bakersfield was ranked worst for short-term particle pollution while Fairbanks, Alaska, was worst for the long-term pollution, the report said.

Despite the poor rankings, the lung association said strong state and local clean air programs in California are driving progress.

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The Bay Area -- the report added San Joaquin County to the region in the results -- experienced a 70 percent drop in unhealthy ozone days since 2000 and an 80 percent drop in unhealthy particle pollution days since 2004.

The lung association's senior director of air quality and climate change Bonnie Holmes-Gen said unhealthy levels of pollution can cause premature death, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer if conditions do not improve.

"We must continue the life-saving work of cutting air pollution and slowing climate change," Holmes-Gen said in a statement.

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Report: Bay Area air quality among worst in nation

Region ranks sixth in list of most-polluted metropolitan areas, says American Lung Association

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 1:34 pm

The Bay Area has some of the worst air quality in the nation but numbers have gradually improved over the last few years, the American Lung Association said in a report released last week.

The Bay Area ranked sixth in the list of most-polluted metropolitan areas for short-term particle pollution and 10th in most-polluted cities for year-round particle pollution, according to the lung association's State of the Air 2018 report.

In Santa Clara County, the ozone level received a "F" grade and short-term particle pollution levels, measured within a 24-hour span, was given a "C" grade according to the report. The average year-round particle pollution received a passing grade.

Bakersfield was ranked worst for short-term particle pollution while Fairbanks, Alaska, was worst for the long-term pollution, the report said.

Despite the poor rankings, the lung association said strong state and local clean air programs in California are driving progress.

The Bay Area -- the report added San Joaquin County to the region in the results -- experienced a 70 percent drop in unhealthy ozone days since 2000 and an 80 percent drop in unhealthy particle pollution days since 2004.

The lung association's senior director of air quality and climate change Bonnie Holmes-Gen said unhealthy levels of pollution can cause premature death, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer if conditions do not improve.

"We must continue the life-saving work of cutting air pollution and slowing climate change," Holmes-Gen said in a statement.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Ignorant
Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 26, 2018 at 2:47 pm
Ignorant, Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 26, 2018 at 2:47 pm
8 people like this

Wow, I'm actually surprised by this. I had always assumed that our late afternoon sea breeze gave us an advantage compared to many other cities. I also assumed that the more strict California regulations would also be an advantage. I knew our growth rate and lack of mass transit were a disadvantage. But sixth worst is really disappointing to learn.


Disappointed
Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2018 at 4:04 pm
Disappointed, Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2018 at 4:04 pm
8 people like this

This is disappointing but not surprising. We are considered a Tech Hotbed but how we behave in our daily lives is quite antiquated. Almost all cars here burn fossil fuels and Caltrain runs on Diesel! The contrast between the hype that we sell to the outside world and how we actually live could not be starker.

There is no or little effective public transportation and everyone is stuck in endless traffic. Quality of live is poor and now we also know that our air quality sucks.

And worst of all: Almost none of the extraordinary amount of money that is sloshing around here is used to improve the situation.

This is suffocating...


But
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm
But, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm
11 people like this

During the past few years of this boom, air quality has improved. I'm not sure why when those same past few years have been the worst for traffic and jams.

The "Bay Area" is much more than the peninsula and Silicon Valley. The east side has some monster refineries and industry.


Jack
Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Jack, Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm
6 people like this

Why would they include San Joaquin County in this? The air in the counties that touch the bay is much much better than the Central Valley because all of our smog blows over there and it gets trapped on this side of the Sierras which is why Bakersfield is so bad.


Sophie
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm
Sophie, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm
3 people like this

It’s not surprising at all. Look at all the vehicles on 101, 237, 85, and how slow they move during commute time, the car exhaust would significantl contribution to the air pollution. And don’t forget the Volkswagen emission scandal since 2015. Bay Area is becoming 3rd world country with lack of law enforcement.


@Sophie
Castro City
on Apr 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm
@Sophie, Castro City
on Apr 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm
9 people like this

Sophie, if we just built more housing in Mountain View and other cities here, those people wouldn't be sitting in traffic to get to work.


Poster
Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2018 at 12:33 am
Poster, Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2018 at 12:33 am
13 people like this

California does a reasonable job at containing pollution. The pollution comes from China:

Web Link

Having said that, the US needs to do a better job at setting the example and leading the worldwide effort to avoid pollution, so that nations like China and India can follow the example.


If it's traffic, explain
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2018 at 7:09 am
If it's traffic, explain, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2018 at 7:09 am
17 people like this

1) The report says that recent years have shown improvement (Air quality improved over the last few yrs..
2) Traffic has become much worse over the past 5-10 years with it at it's worst now.

So, it's all this traffic you say? I think it's something else. Traffic has increased over the recent years but per the report, so has air quality.


Me
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2018 at 7:50 pm
Me, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2018 at 7:50 pm
31 people like this

air pollution by forest fires was pretty bad the past few years. Especially last fall.


Steven
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2018 at 11:55 am
Steven, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2018 at 11:55 am
3 people like this

While some of you might find this surprising, it's really not at all. The bay area is notorious for air pollution because of the topography and weather conditions. Fog is moisture and particulates tend to stick together. The fog acts like a cap of inversion trapping pollutants at the surface. Cooler air below and warmer air above. Then you got the mountains trapping it even more.


YIMBY
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm
YIMBY, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm
3 people like this

Since all of the major job hubs here are surrounded by a wall of single-family homes with owners who fight tooth and nail against taller buildings getting built, everyone has to commute in from further and further away, day in and day out, contributing to the pollution. If we could build densely near jobs and next to mass transit, that would do a lot to get cars off the road and cut down on the pollution.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 1:25 am
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 27, 2018 at 1:25 am
4 people like this

In response to YIMBY you said:

“Since all of the major job hubs here are surrounded by a wall of single-family homes with owners who fight tooth and nail against taller buildings getting built, everyone has to commute in from further and further away, day in and day out, contributing to the pollution. If we could build densely near jobs and next to mass transit, that would do a lot to get cars off the road and cut down on the pollution.”

This is not a solution if there is a blanket of TCE in the entire city of Mountain View or worse the whole valley. But the EPA, CARB, and the City of Mountain View will not even test to see if it exists even though there is significant cause for concern. The fact is there is a known crisis regarding TCE in Mountain View.

TCE is not caused by cars, it is toxic dumping that needs to be cleaned up.

YIMBY simply wants to override the homeowners’ rights to a safe environment, and make a killing in development projects. I am certain if we know who YIMBY was, he would be identified as having significant financial interests in the development business. Simply put, trying to blame home owners for this pollution problem is misdirected. And will not solve the problem.

The recent EPA declaration that where known superfund areas are going to be blocked from having residential development will in fact block the very areas near the “mass transit” points because these points were built in the same places as the toxic sites. How? Because the transit points were serving the business that dumped the toxic pollution that causes the TCE Vapors.

YIMBY, you simply don’t understand at all the issues we are dealing with. I have a clue because I worked as the primary assistant of a Vice President of R and D for Dasibi Environmental Corp and Pollution Research and Control Corporation when I was 14 to 24 part time. The expertise in ambient air quality devices and detection of toxic compounds. I participated in presentations in this area for trade organizations and the EPA and state Environmental Protection agencies. This was during 1984-1994.

Feel free to Google those corporations, you will find even today significant relevant information. So please do not assume you can claim I am not informed regarding the complex problem of ambient air pollution regarding TCE.


YIMBY
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 12:46 pm
YIMBY, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 12:46 pm
3 people like this

So the entirety of Mountain View has TCE? Better pack the whole city up then, right?

"YIMBY simply wants to override the homeowners’ rights to a safe environment, and make a killing in development projects."

I want the prospect of being able to live in a simple studio apartment by oneself to be an affordable endeavor for everyone. As it is even if you're an engineer my generation has been saddled with the prospect of being renters forever and likely never being able to live without roommates. All because homeowners that surround good jobs in metro areas want to pretend they're still living in suburbs.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm
5 people like this

In response to YIMBY you said:

“So the entirety of Mountain View has TCE? Better pack the whole city up then, right? “

I only said we need to test to find that out. If it does CONFIRM entire TCE contamination, you may be on the only action that would be appropriate. You said:

“I want the prospect of being able to live in a simple studio apartment by oneself to be an affordable endeavor for everyone.”

So you ONLY want STUDIO apartments, what about those with DIFFERENT needs or “WANTS”. You seem to be only supporting your needs and those YOU support. You also said:

“As it is even if you're an engineer my generation has been saddled with the prospect of being renters forever and likely never being able to live without roommates.”

I do not disagree with your right to have access to affordable housing where you can have your own personal privacy. So please do not think I am against it. You also said:

“All because homeowners that surround good jobs in metro areas want to pretend they're still living in suburbs.”

This is where you are seriously WRONG. The homes built were there PRIOR to the businesses that were built say in the period of when Costa Hawkins was enacted. So those homes are given just priority of rights due to the fact that the “BUSINESSES” are in effect invaders of the community. You simply cannot override those who own properties that existed prior to the new “BUSINESSES” or “JOBS”. Even if they bought the property after the new “BUSINESS” or “JOBS” moved into the communities.

This is simple common sense, I do not like it as much as you, but I cannot make a good argument to override these people’s rights protect their “personal” property. I distinguish that to those who are using a business to own multiple SFR, Duplex, Triplex, or Quadraplex because their ownership is not “personal”. It is owned by an artificial “entity” recognized by the City, County, State, or U.S. They simply are not fully liable for their responsibilities if they take actions that result in either personal injury, property damage, or property value loss. Thus they are not to be given the same consideration.


YIMBY
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 6:43 pm
YIMBY, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 6:43 pm
3 people like this

"So you ONLY want STUDIO apartments, what about those with DIFFERENT needs or “WANTS”. You seem to be only supporting your needs and those YOU support."

The market for housing is so constrained that people are renting out single-family homes like apartment buildings and putting a tenant in every bedroom. There is a clear need for more apartments, studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom. The market is not being allowed to meet that need, because some people consider a suburban neighborhood character to be part of their personal property.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 7:29 pm
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 27, 2018 at 7:29 pm
3 people like this

In response to YIMBY you said:

“The market for housing is so constrained that people are renting out single-family homes like apartment buildings and putting a tenant in every bedroom.”

Yes I have heard of the stories, and seen the Craigslist listings. But the fact that these rooms are being rented do not prove that the “housing” market is being constrained. Given that Costa Hawkins in effect guaranties significant profits regarding development. I can agree that there is a lack of affordable housing, but cannot agree that it is constrained by anyone. You said:

“There is a clear need for more apartments, studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom. The market is not being allowed to meet that need, because some people consider a suburban neighborhood character to be part of their personal property.”

Here is where you are WRONG. You do not yet “own” the land prior to the development because the projects must be approved first before the land is in effect purchased. Thus the proposed developers have no ownership of the land, in contrast to the home owners that already own the property they have. If your proposed projects will have the possibility of reducing their property value, what compensation is paid to the home owner? It would seem if this was offered the home owners would be more open to your proposals.

The fact is until you actually own the land, you cannot expect any consideration. Granted you then have to spend perhaps millions of dollars on a gamble because you have to own the property prior to proposing a project. To me, I see nothing appropriate regarding giving those who are not yet owners of property preferential treatment over those who already do.

You cannot claim that the problem is caused by home owners, it was caused by the housing industry’s lack of ability to manage itself. If you provide amicable plans to the homeowners which ensures that their quality of life is preserved, or just compensation is made to balance the loss, you will never get cooperation regarding your proposed plans.

Can you in fact document that you provide home owners just compensation regarding the proposals are being made? To me I am seeing the investors getting something out of the proposals, the City getting something out of the proposals, but NO compensation regarding the local property owners at this time.

Please provide us with evidence that you are not “exploiting” the land without compensating the local property owners?


YIMBY
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm
YIMBY, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm
3 people like this

"Yes I have heard of the stories, and seen the Craigslist listings. But the fact that these rooms are being rented do not prove that the “housing” market is being constrained."

LOL


YIMBY
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm
YIMBY, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm
5 people like this

You are so incredibly out of touch, Business Man. I gave you way too much credit. You have no idea the extent of the housing crisis, the pervasiveness of whole homes turned into engineer apartments, how out of reach the prospect of having your own personal little box has become. "Yes I have heard of the stories", L O L my god. You take care now and enjoy the bubble you're living in.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm
3 people like this

In response to YIMBY you said:

“You are so incredibly out of touch, Business Man. I gave you way too much credit. You have no idea the extent of the housing crisis, the pervasiveness of whole homes turned into engineer apartments, how out of reach the prospect of having your own personal little box has become. "Yes I have heard of the stories", L O L my god. You take care now and enjoy the bubble you're living in.”

I gather you haven’t ever seen written prose described as “understatement”, it is defined as(Web Link) :

Common Examples of Understatement

Understatement is very common in daily speech. The following sentences and situations are examples of understatement:

“It’s a bit warm.” (When one is sweating profusely in a sauna or traveling through a desert at midday)

“I’m a little tired.” (After completing a marathon or after having not slept all night long)

“We’re in a bit of a pickle.” (When cornered in battle or surrounded by sharks while in a lifeboat)

Most importantly, you still haven’t addressed that fact that the TCE pollution is the REAL threat. And that no “sticker” will immunize a property owner for knowing sell a dangerous product which is a threat to life. Even the proposition 65 does not do this if you read the following (Web Link):

Proposition 65 Fact Sheet for Tenants

Feb 1, 2014

This fact sheet was prepared by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which administers the Proposition 65 program. It provides information to tenants whose apartment managers and owners have posted or distributed Proposition 65 warnings.

“What does a Proposition 65 warning mean?

Under Proposition 65, businesses are required to give a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly exposing anyone to a listed chemical above a specified level. This warning can be included on the label of a consumer product or published in a newspaper. An equally common practice is for businesses to provide a warning at the workplace or in a public area affected by the chemical.

Many apartment owners and managers have posted or distributed warnings to notify tenants that they may be exposed to one or more chemicals on the Proposition 65 list. FOR EXAMPLE, A WARNING MAY BE GIVEN BECAUSE TENANTS ARE EXPOSED TO CHEMICALS IN PESTICIDES APPLIED TO LANDSCAPING OR STRUCTURES OR CHEMICALS IN HOUSING CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, SUCH AS LEAD IN PAINT OR ASBESTOS IN CEILING COATINGS.

A growing trend among rental property owners and other businesses is to provide warnings for chemicals on the list, such as tobacco smoke or motor vehicle exhaust, which are regularly released into the environment in or near rental housing. IN SOME CASES, HOWEVER, OWNERS AND MANAGERS ARE PROVIDING WARNINGS TO AVOID POTENTIAL VIOLATIONS AND LAWSUITS, EVEN THOUGH EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS ON THE PROPOSITION 65 LIST HAS NOT BEEN VERIFIED. You should discuss the warning with the owner or manager to learn why it was provided so that you and your family can make informed decisions about exposure to any of these chemicals and your health.”

But in this case, the landlord cannot simply sell a defective product under the warranty of inhabitability standard that states (Web Link) :

Implied Warranty of Habitability

Most jurisdictions read residential leases to include an implied warranty of habitability. This warranty requires landlords to keep their property "habitable," even if the lease does specifically require them to make repairs. Furthermore, the warranty conditions a tenant's duty to pay rent on the landlord's duty to maintain a habitable living space. This makes it easier for tenants to get landlords to make repairs. This warranty is usually coupled with rules prohibiting landlords from retaliating against tenants who complain housing code violations.

This warranty is controversial. Supporters argue that it protects poor tenants from abusive landlords. Detractors argue that it drives up housing prices, encourages landlords to abandon old buildings, and turns landlords into public utilities.”

So if there is a known toxin on the spot where a building is built for a residence, but it is surrounded by a hazardous chemical known to the developer before building, the building CANNOT be defined as satisfying the “habitable” standard. Thus, this fact would render any renters agreement void and unenforceable. Placing a “sticker” up does not make the building “habitable”, thus the building is simply off limits for human inhabitation.

Please read this (Web Link):

“In certain circumstances, California Civil Code Section 1942 allows a tenant or lessee to move out of a rented property without prior notice when the property is uninhabitable. A rented property must be fit for humans to live in. When it is so unhealthy as to be a danger to the renter, the renter has the right to leave the premises even when there is a lease. However, there are steps to take before doing so in order to support your claim that the property is uninhabitable.”

The simple fact is that the toxins in the environment will need to be “controlled” by the landlord in order to proceed to market the property. That means even the ambient air around the property or in the public areas the tenant may use. Without such controls, you lose the qualification of a “habitable” building. It can be considered a fraudulent practice to not “control” the TCE in the public areas of the building. Thus whatever development you make should take that into account, most likely making apartments without patios, no open areas like an outdoor swimming pool, and the like. As long as the ambient air in the property is unsafe, the landlord must correct it.

It is so easy to not understand the “big picture”


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