San Francisco Air Quality is the Worst In the World: What the Media Isn’t Telling You

The Bay Area is being choked by the worst fire in California history, and the air is absolutely toxic.

As I write this, the air quality index in San Francisco just hit 385. What a lot of people don’t realize is this metric is kind of meaningless in this situation. AQI only measures ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. That’s it.

Particle pollution is a cute way of saying over 11,000+ homes with everything inside them, petroleum, gas, cars and everything thing made out of, plastics, dead people, dead animals, and pretty much everything you would expect to find in a town or city. This is vastly different than the fires we’ve had in the past, and this smoke is far more toxic then what I have seen in any media report. This air is completely toxic, cancerous, and should not be breathed by anyone. The longer you are exposed to it the more sick you will get, and the longterm effects are unknown.

The death toll is currently at 63 people, but there are still 631 people officially missing. The fire has consumed 142,000 acres and is the largest fire in California state history.

Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco has done pretty much nothing. They have not used the PA system to warn the people of San Francisco of the toxic air. Why do we have a public announcement system if they wont use it in an emergency? They annoyingly test the damn thing every Tuesday, yet in what is absolutely a disaster they refuse to warn or educate the public on how to protect themselves. Let alone open shelters or protect the people on the streets.

To make matters even more stupid, the city is still employing construction workers to work outside in this horrible air quality just outside my house, and across the city, without masks or protective equipment. If I had masks to spare I would go give them to the construction workers, but unfortunately I don’t and every time I leave the house I get a headache and start getting dizzy. The only thing the city did was offer free MUNI rides, and swapped cable cars for buses.

The fact of this matter is that this is not just a forest fire, nor is this fire anything like the one in Malibu and Southern California. The entire town of Paradise is gone; it burned down and the fire is still burning (it is only 45% contained as of writing this). The smoke in the Bay Area is not smoke from a forest fire, it is smoke from an entire town going up in flames including many of the people who lived there.

This is what you’re breathing in the Bay Area right now:

Does this look like a forest to you? That’s an entire town gone.

How to stay safe:

Don’t go outside if you do not have to.

  • If you do go outside, wear a mask or respirator at all times. The recommended mask is an N95 but honestly I don’t think that mask will even be effective in 385 AQI air quality with this kind of partical matter. It is better than nothing, but still probably not effective. You just shouldn’t breath this air or be exposed to it.
  • If you have to be inside a car, put your car on recycled air, and run the air conditioner. This will force your car to filter and recirculate the air. If you get dizzy, or if vision becomes impaired turn on your hazards, slow down and pull over somewhere safe.
  • If you are at home keep all doors and windows shut and sealed as much as possible. Do not go outside.
  • If you have an air purifier, run it on high at all times. (How to make your own air purifier at home.)
  • If you have a humidifier run it on high at all times. You can put essential oils in the humidifier to mask the smell and help you breath more clearly.
  • Use diluted essential oils on your lymph nodes under your neck.
  • Drink a ton of water.
  • Take a shower or bath.
  • If you start to experience dizziness, headaches, or it becomes hard to breath inform someone else immediately incase you need further care. Sit down or lay down, take slow deep breathes from the purest air you can get access to.
  • If you’re exposed to the air somehow go somewhere where you can get away from it.

We do not know or understand what is in this smoke, this has not been studied or analyzed. We have no idea what kind of impact this is going to have on our health, children, pets, elderly, and local communities.

Be safe everyone, please stay safe.

Smoke over the past week:

September 29th, what my view normally looks like. Those are clouds not smoke.
November 8th
November 9th
November 10th
November 11th
November 12th
November 13th
November 14th
November 15th
Morning of November 16th
November 16th Afternoon — AQI of 385