Indoor Air Pollution

Santa Barbara County Air Quality News January/February 1996

Inside this Issue:

Indoor Air PollutionNew Gasoline Tested at Lake CachumaNewsletter SurveySmog Check – Economic Hardship Extension AdoptedSmoking VehiclesPermit & Compliance Summary

Index of Topics in Past Issues

On the Air is a bimonthly newsletter published by the Planning and Community Assistance Section of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. For more information on items in this newsletter, or to be added to our print subscription list, contact Megan Miley at (805) 961-8833 or [email protected].

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Indoor Air Pollution  

Californians spend over 80% of their day indoors. Research shows that indoor air pollution levels are often higher than outdoor levels.

During the winter months we spend more time inside with the windows and doors closed tight. While keeping the cold air out, we shut ourselves in with a surprising amount of airborne pollutants. Consumer products, gas appliances, building materials, cigarettes, and furniture all contribute to the problem. Air pollution is especially harmful to infants, the elderly, and people with lung and heart illnesses or chemical sensitivities.

The most effective way to protect you and your family is to reduce the amount of pollutants released in your house. Here are some tips:

Use products safely

Cleaning supplies, paint, and glue should be used with plenty of ventilation — outside if possible. Use non-toxic cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar, and solid or liquid products instead of aerosol sprays.

Restrict smoking

Cigarette smoke contains many toxic pollutants and is harmful to both smokers and non-smokers.

Maintain appliances

Gas appliances, wood stoves, and fireplaces pollute less when properly maintained through annual inspections and cleaning. Never use a gas stove to heat the house and use only aged wood in the fireplace or wood stove.

Select furniture carefully

Some carpets, foam, plywood, and particle board products emit significant amounts of formaldehyde or other gaseous pollutants. You can request that new carpets or furniture be aired out by the manufacturer or distributor prior to delivery, or you can air them yourself in your garage or yard.

Keep a clean house

Proper storage of solvents and frequent housecleaning to remove dust, pollen, mold, and fungi are necessary to maintain good indoor air quality.

Test for radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive substance that can seep through cracks in your foundation into your home. Testing kits are inexpensive and easy to use. For more information call the American Lung Association of Santa Barbara, 805-963-1426.

Keep houseplants

Plants absorb pollutants through their leaves. Also, microbes in the soil help break down contaminants. The most useful and easy to grow plants for this purpose are areca palm, golden pothos, Janet Craig, and corn plant.

Open windows

Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors when weather permits and when using products that generate pollutants.

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New Gasoline Tested at Lake Cachuma  

If you rented a boat at Lake Cachuma last summer, you were part of a testing program for cleaner burning gasoline. Last July through October, Cachuma Boat Rentals, located at Lake Cachuma, was one of two California marine test locations for cleaner burning gasoline (also called California Reformulated Gasoline or California Phase 2 RFG – see July/August and November/ December, 1995, issues of On The Air). Lake Tahoe was the other marine test location for cleaner burning gasoline.

The state Air Resources Board (ARB) was impressed with the recordkeeping and overall operations of Cachuma Boat Rentals and asked Jim Batty, mechanic and welder, to participate in the testing.

All of the nearly 100 boats in Cachuma Boat Rentals? fleet were used in the test. Over 3500 gallons of cleaner burning gasoline were used. “We wanted to learn all we could about the new gasoline by getting in on the ground floor,” stated Batty. Because it was a test program, cleaner burning gasoline was only used in the rental boats and was not available for sale to other boaters.

No performance or fuel-related problems were noted during the four month test period. The ARB inspected the boats at least every other week for potential problems with the fuel system and other engine components. They also tested each load of gasoline delivered to Cachuma Boat Rentals.

“The ARB staff was a great group to work with,” said Batty of the experience.

Cleaner burning gasoline will be sold from every pump in California by June 1, 1996. Many stations will have the new fuel available for sale sooner. Oil refineries must begin producing cleaner burning gasoline by March 1, 1996.

The air quality improvement from using cleaner burning gasoline statewide will be like taking 3.5 million cars from California?s roadways. This equals 300 tons of ozone-forming pollution, 1300 tons of carbon monoxide, and 30 tons of sulfur dioxide per day!We expect the use of cleaner burning gasoline in cars, trucks, boats, lawn mowers and other gasoline-powered equipment to reduce 0.23 tons per day of ozone forming pollution in Santa Barbara County.

Another benefit will be reduced cancer risk from exposure to gasoline and motor vehicle emissions. Cleaner burning gasoline has 50 percent less benzene, a known human carcinogen, than conventional fuel.

For additional information on Cleaner Burning Gasoline contact Bobbie Bratz at 805-961-8890 or the Air Resources Board at 1-800-922-7349.

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Do You Like Our New Look?

As you can see (if you were reading a printed copy ) On the Air has been updated for 1996. We redesigned it (ourselves) for a cleaner, brighter look, and to incorporate some of the suggestions you made on our survey last year. We continue to print on 100% post-consumer non-deinked recycled paper.

Here?s what we learned from the survey:

Most of the respondents (74%) receive the newsletter in the mail; 20% pick it up at the bank, the library, the DMV, the health club, or elsewhere. Six percent did not answer. (We hope our new design will invite more readers to pick it up from public locations.)

Sixty-seven percent are regular readers of the newsletter – 49% read all of it and 39% skim it.

Qualities of the newsletter were ranked as follows:

    #1 Informative #2 Easy to read #3 Other (with comments) #4 Too general#5 Too technical


These are the topics readers would like to see included:

    #1 Educational articles on air pollution and air issues#2 Summaries of new rules#3 Company profiles (any volunteers?!)#4 Clean air lifestyle tips#5 Summaries of APCD Board actions#6 Activities of the APCD#7 APCD Board Calendar#8 Summaries of permit and enforcement activities


On the Air is produced by the APCD?s Planning and Community Assistance Section. For more information, call Megan Miley, editor, 805-961-8833.

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Smog Check

Economic Hardship Extension Adopted

In January 1995, the California Smog Check Program was modified. Under the new program, motorists who fail the biennial Smog Check are required to spend at least $450 to repair their vehicle before a waiver can be requested. Previously, a waiver could be obtained if the repair estimate exceeded $50-$300, depending on the age of the car.

Now, thanks to emergency regulations (AB 63, November, 1995), there is help for motorists who are unable to pay for the necessary repairs. A one-time, one-year economic hardship extension can be granted by a Bureau of Automotive Repair Referee Center.

The extension is not available to gross polluters (cars emitting pollutant levels over a specified threshold), or to cars that have had their emission control equipment tampered, unless the vehicle is brought below the gross polluter standard and the tampered equipment has been corrected. The extension is also not available to those seeking a change of ownership or initial registration in California.

These requirements apply throughout Santa Barbara County. Additional changes have been made in other areas.

For more information, call the Bureau of Automotive Repair, 1-800-952-5210.


To help new car buyers identify the cleanest cars, the California Air Resources Board will add a Smog Index window sticker to new 1998 passenger cars. The sticker, similar to the fuel economy rating sticker, will compare the car?s emissions to 1993 standards and to other cars.

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Smoking Vehicles  

We are often asked, “What can I do when I see a car or truck on the road that is smoking a lot?”

The APCD does not have a smoking vehicle complaint line. You can report the vehicle to us and we will report it to the California Air Resources Board (ARB), or you may call the ARB directly.

There are two ARB telephone numbers. You may leave a voice message on the general complaint line, 800-952-5588, or you may call ARB?s Mobile Source Division, 800-242-4450, and talk to an ARB staff person. To report a smoking vehicle you will need the license plate number, the type of vehicle, and when and where you saw it.

The ARB uses this information to access Department of Motor Vehicle records. They will send a letter to the car?s owner letting them know that their car was reported and that the necessary repairs should be made. It is illegal to drive a vehicle that is producing excessive smoke. However, there is no enforcement mechanism to ensure that the repairs are made.

For more information, call Frances Gilliland, 805-961-8838, or the Business Assistance Line, 805-961-8868.

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Permit & Compliance Summary

  Oct 1995 Nov 1995
ATC Applications Received 16 8
ATC Permits Issued 7 7
PTO Applications Received 10 24
PTO Permits Issued 7 7
Exemption Requests 4 3
Exemptions Determined 6 4
Inspections Made 132 161
Notices of Violation Issued 27 11
Administrative Infractions Documented 1 7

Contents of this issue | Index of past issues

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New Phone Numbers
The District has new direct lines for all staff, as well as for all of our phone lines, including our main phone number and Complaints line. You can find our new phone numbers on this webpage.

Nuevos números de teléfono
El Distrito tiene nuevos números de teléfono para comunicarse con el personal directamente, así como también para todas nuestras líneas telefónicas, incluyendo nuestro número principal y el de las Quejas. Puede encontrar nuestros nuevos números de teléfono en esta página web.