UPDATE (10/12/2017): Hi, thanks for visiting. We noticed a lot of people visiting this old post. You’re probably looking for air quality information related to the wildfires in the North Bay. Unfortunately, this post is about average everyday air quality. The best place to find current and up to date air quality information is at the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow page which you can find at this hyperlink. Want to spare your lungs and find indoor activities? Check out our guide.

Thank you for visiting UpOut and stay safe.

Go outside and take a deep breath — or don’t. This map shows where you can find the cleanest air in San Francisco, as well as where the not-so-clean air is lingering.

One of the best parts of living in San Francisco over say, Los Angeles, is what seems to be the complete lack of air pollution. Yes, more urban areas like SoMa and Downtown are going to have more pollution than the Presidio, but even when it’s bad, it’s not that bad, you know? The only thing we have obstructing our view is good ol’ Karl, which we would gladly take over smog any day.

Remember that map of the noisiest parts of the city? Well our friends at PlaceILive are back at it again, and this time they mapped out the areas of San Francisco with the highest and lowest levels of air pollution.

We thought we’d take a closer look at their findings, and you can view the map yourself here.

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They gathered this data from the U.S. Census Tract, which measures fine particulate matter concentration in micrograms per meter cubed from all pollution sources. So the lower the number of µg/m3, the less amount of air pollutants per cubic meter of air, and ultimately the happier we are.

The area with the highest level of air pollution at 10.26-10.50 µg/m3 is a patch in Portola bordered by Hamilton Street, Highway 101, Woolsey Street, Felton Street and Silver Street. Within the area, there is a cluster of schools: Martin Luther King Jr Academic Middle School, E R Taylor Elementary School, Alta Vista School, as well as the Portola Branch Library.

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Perhaps the high amount of pollution is due to parents and guardians picking up and dropping off their kids daily, which usually involves a lot of idling cars. Does anyone have any other insight?

The next worst area at 9.51-9.75 µg/m3 is a strip between the Mission District and Potrero Hill alongside 101, as well as a large chunk of SoMa.

The majority of the Mission/Potrero area is the San Francisco General Hospital, which is a totally plausible contributing factor to pollution. According to EPA’s Healthy Air campaign, equipment breakage and waste incineration may release harmful pollutants into the air, like mercury and dioxin.

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Regarding SoMa, it seems like the pollution is from a generally higher population, as well as traffic congestion. What do you think?
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The cleanest areas at 8-8.25 µg/m3 are all predominantly on the western side of San Francisco: the Presidio, Sea Cliff, the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset, and Lakeshore. Also joining the clean party is Crocker-Amazon, Twin Peaks, Diamond Heights, and Hunters Point.
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What do you think of this data — accurate or no? How is your neighborhood on the pollution scale?

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