How California Wildfires Are Impacting Indoor Air Quality in Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – October 13, 2017: Awair, the creators of products that track air quality in homes, has released new data revealing that the several wildfires sweeping through California have caused a significant drop in indoor air quality in the homes of Bay Area residents. The air quality data was collected from hundreds of Awair devices that are in-use in San Francisco.

According to the data, up to 85% of Bay Area households (with Awair units) have reported unhealthy indoor air.

Chart showing the increase of households with unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area during the time frame of the wildfires

The drop in indoor air quality is attributed to the increased concentration of dust and particulate matter carried down to the Bay Area from the wildfires in the North. Between October 7th and October 11th, the concentration of dust and particulates indoors dramatically increased to unhealthy levels.

Chart showing the increase of Indoor Particle Pollution Levels in Bay Area Households with Awair devices during the time of the wildfires

A rare hazardous warning has been issued for the Bay Area by the Environmental Protection Agency and residents have been cautioned to stay indoors and find filtered air. However, Awair’s data illustrates that staying indoors may still put people at risk of air contamination, especially children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD, emphysema, and heart disease. Research has shown that indoor air can be significantly more polluted than outdoor air.

As a response to the growing concern of the wildfires’ impact on air quality, Awair will be donating air quality monitors to various schools and daycares throughout the Bay Area to allow them to track the air in their facilities and empower them to make decisions that will keep children healthy.

Awair’s founder Ronald Ro has offered the following advice for Bay Area residents concerned with the effects of poor indoor air quality on their health:

Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible
To promote healthy and comfortable air,, set ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up.
Wipe down surfaces to prevent excess dust and particles from accumulating on furniture
If air is too contaminated indoors, move to a location with better air quality

Editor’s Note: I am deeply saddened by the continuing fires, which are causing a tragic loss of life – and the number of homes and businesses destroyed. As a resident in Alameda County (SF East Bay), we’ve experienced occasional bouts of poor air quality over the past week… and I’m more than 40 miles away from Napa. Thoughts are with those still being impacted by the fires, which officials now say they “turned a corner” in the battle.

Feature Image Courtesy of: Getty Images 

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