Why is This Important?
Clean air is essential to human and environmental health. Air pollution increases the risk of lung disease and a variety of other health problems, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory problems in children, and certain contaminants can damage terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. By nature, air pollution cannot be contained by local, state, or even national borders, which highlights the importance of larger scale regulation and management of air quality.
What is a Sustainable State?
A sustainable state is one where the air is clean and poses no threat to human health or environmental quality.
How Are We Doing?
· Suspended particulate matter (PM) is associated with asthma and other respiratory ailments, contributes to haze, and harms the environment. Particulate matter pollution is made up of very small, suspended particles of dust or other compounds, and the size of particles in the air is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. The smallest particles (less than 2.5 micrometers, or about 1/30th the width of a human hair) are the most dangerous as they can lodge deep in the lungs and cause long-term lung problems.
· According to the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Emissions Inventory, the largest source (58 percent) of particulate matter pollution in San Mateo County is road dust. Other signifcant contributors include construction and demolition equipment (18 percent), residential fireplaces (4 percent) and farming (4 percent).
· Particulate matter concentrations vary widely by season. In the winter months, when particulate matter pollution is high, wood burning is a significant source of fine particulate matter in the county.
· In 2010, there was one day when concentrations of particulate matter exceeded 24-hour PM national standards at the Redwood City air quality monitoring station.
· As of 2010, the Bay Area air district does not meet the new stricter Federal Fine Particulate Matter air quality standard, which reduced the level of acceptable PM concentrations from 65 μg per m3 to 35 μg per m3. PM pollution is a growing focus for regional air quality pollution management programs.
Ground-level ozone is the main component of smog. It can be a trigger for asthma even at very low levels and can cause permanent lung damage after long-term exposure.
· The primary source of ground-level ozone is exhaust from combustion engines which combines with heat and sunlight to create ozone.
· In 2010, after five straight years of no nonattainment days, there were two days when ozone concentrations exceeded the state one-hour standard at the Redwood City air quality monitoring station