pizza oven
Wikimedia/Dimitri Nyet

Pizza Oven Blamed for Montreal’s Bad Air Quality Readings

Air quality appeared to get dramatically better after the city stopped taking readings over a pizza oven

Montreal’s air quality has been getting better over the years, and now it looks like the air quality was even better than previously reported, because a local wood-burning pizza oven has been messing up the city’s air quality readings for years.


Montreal’s air quality readings are taken from various air sampling stations across the city, but for years one of those sampling stations has been located right next to a pizza restaurant with a wood-burning pizza oven. The oven was reportedly blowing smoke right at the air sampling probe, and nobody realized what was happening until the sampling probe was turned off in 2016 and the whole city’s air quality suddenly seemed to get dramatically better.


According to The Star, in 2015 Montreal recorded 64 days of bad air quality. Then the sampling station over the pizza restaurant was closed, and in 2016 Montreal had only 29 days of bad air quality. This year the city’s annual air quality surveillance network report says the pizza oven’s smoke has probably been the source of more than half of Montreal’s bad air quality readings every year since 2013.


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The city’s air report says that Montreal’s air quality has actually been improving for real, in addition to the apparent improvement that happened when the city stopped using the sampling probe next to the pizza oven. The report credits Montreal’s regulation of industrial pollutants, public transportation improvements, and promotion of electric vehicles as sources of the improvement in the city’s actual air quality.