Claremont Colleges: Pitzer, Scripps (Claremont, CA)

Outside the Bay Area, CA

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Air Quality at the Claremont Colleges

August 2011

My daughter, a high school senior, is very interested in applying to one of the Claremont Colleges. However, I am concerned because she has Asthma (mild) and I believe that area of Southern Cal. has had air pollution issues in the past. If anyone has experience with this, we would greatly appreciate hearing about it. Also, I heard that air quality has been improving in the L.A. area. Does anyone know for a fact if this is true? Any input would be a great help to us, as we evaluate whether attending school in Claremont would be putting my daughter's health at risk. Many thanks! nl

Air quality at the Claremont Colleges is poor during the late spring, summer, and early fall months. It is fine the rest of the year. If her asthma is really really bad, then maybe Claremont is not for her. One of the reasons I didn't go to UC Riverside for graduate school (not the Claremont Colleges but in the same geographic area) was because the smog was so bad that I could barely see the sky. However, my decision was made partly by the fact that my fellowship would have required me to work year round and I would not have been able to leave for five years. Since your daughter will be an undergraduate, she will not be at the college during the summer months when the smog is at its worst. So it may not be that much of a problem. Anon

My son has been at Pomona for the past 2 years. He has no allergies or asthma. However, he has said that the air in LA is definitely worse than in Claremont and Claremont is OK. I checked with 2 other parents of students there (neither of whom have asthma but one has other airborne allergies) and their students both said, ''No problem''. Also they all agreed that they did not know anyone there who was having a problem with it. Personally, I have made trips there for 2 years in Aug., Dec., late Jan., mid-Feb., early May and I have been pleasantly surprised to find it quite good. I am a pretty sensitive person and am OK with it. Hope this is helpful. Mom of Pomona Junior

I can't speak to the air quality, but if your daughter only has mild asthma and she has an asthma plan, this isn't something I would worry a lot about. Talk to your doctor. Is she on daily inhaled steroids? My non-doctor guess is that this will be sufficient. I have moderate asthma and would not worry about this, even though I've moved to an area with more air pollution. breathing fine

Outdoor air pollution like smog is bad for your health, but indoor air pollution can be far worse. New carpet in the dorm room or a roommate who wears perfume is going to be a bigger deal than smog. I would suggest that you reduce the use of all fragranced products and air fresheners and not worry about what goes on outside. Maybe get a houseplant to clean the air. anon

I think you may just have to have your child visit before deciding and see how they deal with the air. My daughter went to visits at many California schools. She couldn't stop sneezing the whole time she was on tour at UC Davis and at UC Santa Barbara so obviously something was triggering her generally seasonal only allergies and she chose not to consider those schools for that reason alone. My brother in law never had allergies or asthma and after moving to LA, developed medication dependent asthma. She may have no issues, she may react to something else there so likely best for her to visit before deciding. xx