San Luis Obispo County fails air pollution test

April 28, 2011

San Luis Obispo County has some of the most polluted air in the country along with high incidents of breathing problems, according to the American Lung Association’s annual report.

The association slapped San Luis Obispo County with an F for having had 69 days per year when the air quality was poor enough to be flagged a red or an orange day. The report notes that ozone pollution can shorten life spans, trigger asthma attacks and increase cardiovascular problems for diabetics.

In the county of 266,971 residents, 34,719 people suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema.

The San Luis Obispo Paso Robles area was ranked 11 on the most ozone polluted list with Los Angeles ranked number one.

On a positive note, the association ranked San Luis Obispo County number one  for having the lowest levels of particle pollution levels in the country.

“Ozone and particle pollution levels today still contribute to thousands of hospitalizations, emergency room visits and early deaths every year,” says Dr. Sonal Patel, volunteer physician for the American Lung Association in California. “We know that air pollution can literally stunt children’s lung development.”


One of the things I love about San Luis Obispo is the clean, fresh air. This is shocking… there must be either a flawed study or an error in the data.


I’m already a bit of a pessimist, not trusting polls, surveys, and scientific studies.

There’s too much money to be made by skewing data one way or another. Though I will admit, I am having a hard time trying to figure out how SLO County can have such bad air. I grew up in Glendora, which quite often got “smogiest city in the USA” many years in a row. I know smog does not equal ozone, but I am old enough to remember the crock of shit that was aimed at freon (R-22), global cooling/warming/change.

I am wondering if honest scientists, like honest journalists, are a thing of the past.


Should we blame this on the Oceano Dune particulates from those pesky OHVers…????


When were the 69 days of high ozone? If they were in SUMMER, that makes perfect sense and is very likely. Tourism coupled with sunshine will equal higher ozone levels.

How SLO County can have some of the most polluted air on the country is beyond comprehension, given its relatively low population per sq-mi, close proximity to the ocean and little manufacturing activity…unless…the ozone is being generated somewhere else and traveling. Fresno County receives a large amount of pollutants from the SF bay area, when the prevailing winds cross SF and move all their smog into the Central Valley. I’m not a meteorologist (and don’t play one on TV) but I’d be interested to know which days were bad, and what the weather was doing on those days.


I agree. I’ve heard this before regarding pollutants coming from the valley but it seems like a stretch for that much dirty air to be coming from the valley. Yes I’m sure some of it might travel here but most of us have been to many other towns/cities that seem to have so much more pollution than we do. 11th on the list just doesn’t make sense to me.

San Diego


San Bernardino



Cucagamonga (spelling?)




San Francisco

Thousand Oaks

Long Beach (maybe they consider that LA?)


That’s just off the top of my head. Some of those places aren’t that bad but they must be worse than SLO.


Seriously people, why do we have such a high degree of ozone pollution? The scientist for the American Lund Association aren’t just making this stuff up. It’s really disheartening that people want to insist that the poor air quality is due to particle matter from the Dunes rather than rely of scientific facts from the ALA who couldn’t care less about our politics surrounding the Oceano dunes.

Why should we have such a high degree of ozone pollution? Nobody is saying why and it doesn’t make any sense unless something is going on that we don’t know about. We have a low volume of traffic as compared to other cities and we have next to zero manufacturing, so what is causing this?


The only thing to blame for poor air quality around here is the stench of bad politics.


The American Lung Assoc has become a Political Front with a Bullsh*t agenda.

Screw them. They can pound the sand that blows off the dunes.


bullshit alert!

fat chance

With absolutely no contradicting information, i’m still calling BS.


Something is a little fishy with this article about the study stating SLO County gets an F for:

“San Luis Obispo County has some of the most polluted air in the country along with high incidents of breathing problems, according to the American Lung Association’s annual report.”

Yet KSBY is reporting: “Some ozone in the air, but overall quality is good”


KSBY? Please. Consider the source.