Barrio Logan Air Monitoring Results for all Pollutants

This page last reviewed October 21, 2010


  • The Barrio Logan community of San Diego was selected for air quality monitoring because it is located in a large urban area, near major freeways and industrial sources, as well as neighborhood sources such as gas stations, dry cleaners, and automotive repair facilities.
  • In the initial phase of the study, monitoring of ambient air quality at Memorial Academy Charter School in the Barrio Logan community in San Diego occurred from October 1999 through February 2001. The site collected information on approximately 38 air pollutants. A table of air pollutants monitored is provided here. These pollutants are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious illnesses. Some have health-based standards established; a standard is a level above which a pollutant is known to cause adverse health effects in humans. The data were analyzed for winter as well as annual periods. All monitoring activities were conducted by the Monitoring and Laboratory Division of ARB.
  • Ambient levels of toxic air contaminants are routinely monitored at approximately twenty sites in the California air toxics monitoring network. Closest to Memorial Academy are Chula Vista and El Cajon in the San Diego region.
  • Generally, air quality in urbanized regions of Calilfornia is unhealthy. The San Diego region is no exception. No unusual levels of toxic air pollutants were detected at Memorial Academy. The annual averages were similar to those statewide. As seen in most locations of the State, the winter levels of most toxic air pollutants appear to be higher than the levels during other seasons.
  • The potential cancer risk is primarily due to a small number of pollutants. It is slightly higher at Memorial Academy than at Chula Vista, similar to El Cajon and Statewide, and much lower than urban Los Angeles.
  • Typical levels of air pollutants with health-based standards measured at Memorial Academy were comparable to those measured at long-term neighboring sites. While the standards for particulate matter and ozone have not been achieved, programs are in place for reducing levels of these pollutants.
  • For details about the above findings, please see the complete reports:
  • This review of air quality measurements during the first 17 months of the study at Memorial Academy provides an initial characterization of air quality in the Barrio Logan community. Air quality in Barrio Logan have been studied in greater detail in the months following February 2001. Issues unresolved by February 2001 included the potential for adverse effects of local sources, such as major truck traffic or industrial and commercial sources, on neighboring residences. Concerns about toxic air pollutants also require further investigation. Our studies include focused computer modeling of all sources of pollution in the Barrio Logan area, monitoring for specific emission sources, roadside inspections of diesel trucks, and truck traffic counting. We expect to provide a report on these activities in the near future.

Some air pollutants have health-based standards established. Information on these so-called criteria pollutants can be obtained below:

Nine of the measured pollutants make up most of the cancer risk found at Memorial Academy. Diesel particulate matter was not measured at Memorial Academy because a method for directly measuring this pollutant is still being developed. The portions of the measured cancer risk due to benzene and 1,3-butadiene are many times higher than the portions due to other pollutants, as shown in a graph illustrating the cancer risk due to individual pollutants. Information on these specific pollutants can be obtained below:

Due to nearby industrial sources, some metals were of particular interest in this study. Information on these metals are below:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxins have been identified as toxic air pollutants that may disproportionately impact infants and children. Dioxins were not collected at Memorial Academy because a direct measurement method was not available; the link below provides information on current activities. Information on PAHs and other compounds can be obtained below:

For a complete data set in Microsoft Excel format:



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