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Air Quality in Tucson, Arizona  

                                13 Air Quality Concerns in Tucson

                                 Tucson Pollen Calendar

       Map of Tucson bowl



The ambient air quality in Tucson (and surrounding Pima county) is relatively good by those standards monitored by the EPA. [Pima County/EPA Air Quality Site with Current and Historic Conditions] . Many toxins problematic to those who are sensitive to chemicals, however, are not monitored by the air quality program, and given locations within the city may have specific air quality problems.  Tucson is often considered a good location for those with MCS or allergies.  That is in not universally true, there are several factors that can contribute to health problems and should be weighed by those with MCS before choosing Tucson.


The Location of Tucson is in a “bowl”, surrounded on the northeast, east, southwest and west by mountains or hills.  In the last decade the town has grown to the northwest and south, the two directions where there are not mountains and public land blocking development.  There are about one million people in the valley, depending on the season and who is counting.  The elevation is 2000-3800 feet.  Tucson is about 60 miles north of the Mexico border.   Map of Tucson bowl

The Climate is of course desert – Sonoran desert with five seasons: Early summer from mid May to perhaps mid July – hot and dry – very hot, lows at night in the 90’s, most of the days 100 degrees or higher.  Monsoon season from July or August to September is wet and hot (85 night-100 days) with much thunderstorm activity. Fall is usually clear with nice temperatures, but can be rainy.  Winter, December to mid February, can be below freezing at night and around 50 in the day, most of Tucson’s rain is expected in the winter. Air inversions do happen in the winter. Spring is again a lovely season with average temperatures about 70, but can be windy. 

Industry and Agriculture  are minimal. There is only small manufacturing, the electronic industry is present but not large (there has been ground water contamination by IBM in the past).  Agriculture is limited to a few remaining cotton farms 30 miles to the NW of Tucson, and a few remaining Pecan farms in the Green Valley area.  There are, however, mines in the surrounding mountains.  Copper mining is considered to be “king” in Arizona.  There is a manufacturing industry to the south in Mexico, at the border.  The largest industry in Tucson is Davis Monthan Air Force Base – there is a lot of air traffic (and who knows what else).  The air base is pretty much right in the middle of the basin.

Political climate:  Arizona is not a “green” state.  It was created by developers and mining companies and is still controlled by those interests.


13 Air Quality Concerns in Tucson to consider if you have MCS or allergies.


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