Release 98-28      
FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE
June 1, 1998
 

CONTACT:

Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730

Joe Irvin
(916) 322-2990
www.arb.ca.gov
       
Media Advisory

Air Resources Board Seeks Public Participation in Palm Desert 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. Palm Desert's forum is set for Friday, June 5.

"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.

Palm Desert's forum, one of 10 the ARB has scheduled around the state, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Palm Desert Embassy Suites, 74-700 Hwy. 111. 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 email 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. Air Resources Board member Barbara Riordan, a former San Bernardino County supervisor, will also be attending and offer brief remarks. The forum will then be opened to public comment and discussion.

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

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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