Air quality update—Nov. 19, 2018

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Lisa Wisser, Director, Environmental Health and Safety

As weather patterns have changed, the EPA Air Quality Index (AQI) for Santa Cruz has begun to improve, and is currently near the lower end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range, with a corresponding health message stating “People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.” The following chart shows air quality levels over the past 72 hours:



Even low smoke concentrations can be irritating, and some people will be more sensitive than others to the odor and discomfort. Anyone with health concerns should contact their medical provider.

Students may purchase N95 masks at the Student Health Center pharmacy. Those with asthma or other respiratory conditions will be provided N95 masks free of charge. In addition, three campus dining halls will continue to provide N95 masks to those in need: Cowell, Colleges 9/10, and Rachel Carson. Employees in need of N95 masks may contact Environmental Health & Safety (459-2553,

Air quality in Silicon Valley has also improved, but remains in the “Unhealthy” range. Silicon Valley air quality can be tracked throughout the day at the BAAQMD web site:

When possible, reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors, consider staying inside, and keep windows closed during times of heavy smoke. Our air should improve later this week.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.