Air Quality

Effects of Air Pollution

Although we live in a relatively pristine environment, air quality is an increasingly important issue in the Sierra foothills. As air quality worsens in the San Joaquin Valley, the foothill area experiences the repercussions. Poor air quality not only threatens the health of people in our area, but can also damage our ecosystems. Nearly 60% of the air pollution in our area comes from cars and trucks.

Flowers grow in a field

Other sources include off-road vehicles, watercraft, lawn and garden equipment, wood stoves and fireplaces (especially inefficient ones), outdoor burning, electrical generation (from non-renewable fossil fuels), industrial sources, consumer products and wildfires. Indoor air quality also affects our overall health and well-being. Smoking; some cleaning products; mold; and off-gassing from paint, furniture and carpeting all contribute to reduced indoor air quality.

Things You Can Do

  • Carpool or use public transportation whenever possible, walk, ride a bike, telecommute, etc.
  • Chip yard trimmings and brush piles; don't burn them.
  • Choose air-friendly products with low or no VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • Don't use a wood stove, pellet stove or fireplace on days when the air quality is poor.
  • Drive an efficient, low-polluting vehicle and keep it well maintained.
  • Drive slowly on unpaved roads.
  • If you use a wood stove, pellet stove or fireplace insert, make sure it's EPA-approved and that the catalytic converter is functioning properly.
  • Limit your trips to town by combining all your errands into one trip.
  • Paint with a brush instead of a sprayer.

Source: California Air Resources Board, "Fifty Things You Can Do"