Release 98-23
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 1998
CONTACT:  Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730
Gennet Osborn
(916) 322-2990
www.arb.ca.gov

Air Resources Board Seeks Public Participation in Fresno Air Quality Forum

        SACRAMENTO - The public is invited to learn more about particle air pollution and to express their concerns and ideas about studying and controlling the tiny, dust-like particles during a series of California Air Resources Board (ARB) air quality forums. Fresno's forum is set for Wednesday, May 13.

        "We will use the forums to educate the public on the health effects of fine particle pollution and ask for suggestions in shaping our program to control these pollutants," said John Dunlap, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

        Fresno's forum, one of 10 the ARB has scheduled around the state, will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollutuion Control District, Third Floor Conference Room, 1999 Tuolumne St. For more information or for special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact Kellie Williams, (916) 322-9567 or TDD (916) 322-3646. The e-mail address is pm-info@arb.ca.gov.

        Inhalable particles 10 microns or less, often referred to as PM 10, are capable of eluding natural defenses in the nose and throat and reaching the lungs. Ten microns is about one-seventh the diameter of a human hair. Exposure to these particles has been shown to cause increased asthma attacks, aggravate bronchitis, and cause premature death in people with existing respiratory or cardiac problems.

        The smallest inhalable particles, those 2.5 microns and smaller, are roughly one twenty-eighth the diameter of a human hair. They are so tiny they can become lodged deep in the lungs. New federal air quality standards finalized in July, 1997 require states to reduce PM 2.5 over the next 15 years. Each forum will open with presentations by ARB and the local air district on the health effects of particle pollution, the new federal standards, existing programs that reduce particle pollution, local conditions and issues, and planned future activities. The forum will then be opened to public comment and discussion.

        The forums will be held in Fresno May 13; Bakersfield May 14; Riverside May 29; Palm Desert June 5; and Colusa June 10. Forums have already been held in Sacramento, Ventura, San Diego, Placerville and Concord.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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