'Pink Lungs Matter' movement

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'Pink Lungs Matter' movement

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:12 pm

SF Tenderloin residents, irked by smoke from upscale market, launch 'Pink Lungs Matter' movement

By Michelle Robertson, SFGATE Updated 10:10 am, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"Pink lungs matter," say some Tenderloin residents irked by the smell of wood smoke wafting from the chimney of a new deli-market in the neighborhood.

Meraki Market opened in October with the promise of delivering upscale deli-style food to San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. But locals say the Stanlee Gatti project has brought more than cold-salted chicken legs and cave-aged gruyere to Post Street.

"I open my windows and it's smoke filling the air, smoke filling my apartment," said Alex Folsom, who lives across from Meraki.

The smoke emanates from the market's wood-burning stove, as first reported by Eater SF, where employees grill a variety of proteins and vegetables over flames fueled by almond and mesquite wood, the latter of which emits an aroma reminiscent of Texas barbecue.

"It is high-quality hard wood and one of the best for cooking food on an open grill," Gatti told SFGATE. He said mesquite, which is often shipped from Texas and therefore pricier than traditional stove fuel, imbues the food with a flavor and fragrance "appealing to most people."

Gatti said the marketplace underwent extensive permitting, especially for the stove, and recently hired a ventilation systems company to uncover ways to assuage those bothered by the smell. He has no plans to burn alternative fuels.

Folsom and a cohort of neighborhood activists aren't so interested in flavorful meats, but clearing their airways.

"My eyes itch and water, my throat is dry," said longtime Tenderloin resident Latasha Poindexter, who claims she can taste the burnt wood when the oven gets really fired up in the morning and afternoon.

The concerned citizens didn't think much of the smoke just after the market opened in October; any scents from Meraki were masked by hefty plumes blown into the city by way of the Wine Country fires.

But as the northern blazes reached containment and the gray haze cleared, Poindexter said the smoke remained. After complaining to Meraki management, Poindexter took her gripes to the street last week, chanting "No smoke! No smoke! No smoke!" outside the marketplace.

Folsom heard Poindexter's protest from his apartment, and the two, along with a handful of other locals, decided to join forces. Last week they filed a complaint with local government agencies and Poindexter launched a hyperlocal movement called "Pink Lungs Matter."

An inspector with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) paid Meraki a visit Friday and found everything in order.

"The facility is operating in accordance with local requirements with an approved ventilation hood system," said DPH spokesperson Rachael Kagan.

Kagan said the use of a wood-burning stove falls within the purview of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), although the market must comply with citywide "Mandatory Burn Ban" days. The agency forbids burning materials such as garbage and plastic. Mesquite wood, though fragrant, is permitted in residential and commercial devices.

That doesn't cut it for the neighborhood smoke-watch group.

"I find it hard to believe there wouldn't be a health concern when I can smell smoke and see the particles settling," Folsom said. Public safety concerns aside, he said the smell itself is pungent enough to warrant governmental action.

Pink Lungs Matter has looped in Supervisor Jane Kim with the hopes she'll take up their cause.

Said Poindexter, "I've been in the Tenderloin since July of 1993 and have no intentions of getting driven out by this market."

Kagan said complaints may be made to the BAAQMD by calling any of the following numbers:

(415) 749-4900 / 1-800-HELP-AIR / 1-800-334-6367 / 1-877-466-2876

Michelle Robertson is an SFGATE staff writer. Email her at mrobertson@sfchronicle.com or find her on Twitter at @mrobertsonsf.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/M ... 335789.php
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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