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Environmental Health

Odors and Fumes

In the event of a potential hazardous materials emergency or other life-threatening environmental hazard, residents should call 911. SFDPH should not be contacted directly. SFDPH on-call specialists are only able to respond to emergency requests that originate from the San Francisco Fire Department, the San Francisco Police Department, or other local, state, or federal public safety agencies.


Some individuals are concerned about outdoor air quality, odors, or fumes. Individuals may also be concerned when fumes and odors migrate from one household, or apartment, or business to another.


The SFDPH Healthy Housing Program responds to certain odor nuisances. If you are concerned about odors from spoiled food, dirty laundry, pest infestation odor, molds, human waste, animal waste, body odor, garbage, or sewage, you may contact the Healthy Housing Program at 415-252-3800.


If your complaint is about other types of odors or fumes, there are other agencies and resources that may be able to provide assistance:


BAAQMDBay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) -- The Air District regulates outdoor air quality, including air emissions from industrial plants, factories, refineries, odor dust or chemical air pollutants from neighborhood businesses, smoke from wood and related solid fuels, smoking vehicles, or excessive exhaust from cars, trucks or buses. The Air District may require a permit for coffee roasters, charbroilers, and smokehouses. Complaints about chemical odors coming from outside a building due to nearby businesses may also be handled by BAAQMD. They may be reached directly by calling: 1-800-334-ODOR (6367).


CARB California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency. The mission of CARB is to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state. Their indoor air quality program may be reached directly by calling: (916) 445-0753.

In an Emergency, call 911

San Francisco Police Department may assist with complaints about emissions from diesel truck idling.


San Francisco Fire Department may respond to complaints about gas odors./>


PG&E may also respond to complaints about gas odors.


San Francisco Department of City Planning may be interested in the complaint if it is the result of a Planning Code Violation, such as chemical odors coming through a common wall, ceiling or floor due to improper business in residential location. The Planning Department's Code Enforcement may be reached at (415) 575-6863


Unknown odors coming through a common wall or from an unknown source may be discussed with the property owner or call Dept of Building Inspection's Housing Inspection Services at (415) 558-6220


If the problem is in the Bay View Hunters Point neighborhoods of San Francisco, the BVHP IVAN (Identifying Violations Affecting Your Neighborhood) website provides a portal for reporting the complaint.


311 may provide information or referrals.