By Maria Medina

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — From car exhaust, to soot and even cigarette smoke, Google Maps will soon show the pollution you and your neighbors are breathing in.

Scientists at Berkeley National Laboratory created a small sensor that measures pollution. The sensor may eventually be installed on Google’s Street View cars.

The team of scientists has worked on the air pollution sensor for years.

Berkeley Lab scientist Lara Gundel said the sensors weigh the smallest particles in the air that find its way into our lungs.

“And if they’re riding a bicycle or if they’re going on a nice walk someplace, they might want to know how polluted it is outside,” Gundel said.

San Francisco-based Aclima is working with Google to put the sensors in its cars, and eventually post the Bay Area data by next year.

Realtor Dirke Kinley said the information can help potential homeowners or hurt them, if the data is wrong.

“The more you know your purchase, the better,” Dirke said. “This is oftentimes the largest transaction for people’s personal finances.”

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District already measures smog in our area. They said they’re working with Aclima to make sure the data comes close to theirs. But they say, they’d rather sacrifice a little less accuracy for more information on the Bay Area’s pollution.

“Anytime we can get more data about air quality, the better,” said Erik Stevenson of the district.

Aclima said the Berkeley air pollution sensors may be put on buses and buildings in the future.

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