Air Pollutants and Health Effects

Who’s at Risk

When pollution is bad, poor air quality can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions, and affect the heart and cardiovascular system. Breathing polluted air for long periods of time can cause more serious problems.

People Most at Risk

Children

Pound for pound, children breathe more than adults and are more sensitive to pollution. Their air passages are narrower, so it takes less inflammation or irritation to obstruct their airways, and their lungs are still developing. Children typically spend more time outdoors and are more active. They also are more likely to have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, which are aggravated by air pollution.

Seniors

Older adults may have undiagnosed heart of lung disease or diabetes that puts them at greater risk. People with diabetes are at increased risk in part because they also have a higher risk of underlying cardiovascular disease.

Active Adults

Even healthy adults of all ages who exercise or work vigorously outdoors are susceptible to air pollution because they have a higher level of exposure. Exercise causes people to breathe faster and more deeply, drawing more air into the lungs. In the case of ozone, the most serious effects will be in the afternoon hours.

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San Francisco Bay Area
Air Quality Status
Tuesday, 6/25
No Alert

5-Day Air Quality Forecast
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Northern Zone
42
35
G
G
G
Coast and Central Bay
46
34
G
G
G
Eastern Zone
58
37
G
G
G
South Central Bay
47
35
G
G
G
Santa Clara Valley
54
36
G
G
G
Tuesday, June 25
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