Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something else to consider: A school's air quality

A new investigative series released by USA Today includes a feature that allows you to look up the air quality at 127,800 public, private, and parochial schools throughout the country. The information is based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

It seems like most San Francisco schools are included in the database and the good news is that the air quality is good at all of them. Some schools in the East Bay and on the Peninsula don't seem to have the clean air that we've got.

To search for a school, click here. (Note that the search box is at the top of the page above the map.)


  1. A related concern is the toxic volatiles found in portable classrooms. Caroline wrote an article on this problem a few years ago. These classrooms tend to be more common at the "trophy" schools.

  2. This is an important issue. I would say that school air quality is a much bigger issue in the Central Valley than San Francisco in general, which is not to say that we should not be on alert for environmental hazards.

  3. Actually, although the Bay Area does have better air quality than the Valley for a lot of types of air pollutants, there are still many locations in San Francisco where the traffic volumes lead to excessive levels of particulates in the air. There is an ordinance going into effect for new construction in areas where there are higher levels of this type of air pollution. Buildings will need to have air filtration systems available. I am not sure how the SF Building Code applies to public schools but I assume they need building department approval, and new construction would be subject to this ordinance.

  4. Does anyone know if the codes are more stringent for public versus private schools?