Research Screening Committee Meeting
October 1, 2002

This page updated July 13, 2005.

State of California
AIR RESOURCES BOARD

BOARD MEMBERS' ADVANCE AGENDA

Research Screening Committee Meeting

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building
Conference Room 550
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-0753

October 1, 2002
8:00 a.m.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

1.

"Request for Pre-Proposals for California Air Resources Board's Vulnerable Populations Research Program," Amount: Up to $500,000
  The Vulnerable Populations Research Program (VPRP) is designed to study California residents who may be more vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution due to a variety of factors including increased biologic sensitivity, a greater potential for exposure, and social and economic factors that may effect biologic response and exposure. A solicitation has been developed, in response to recommendations of the VPRP External Advisory Committee, which addresses the general needs of the VPRP. It is anticipated that this solicitation will be circulated to the University of California. Initial letters of intent will be evaluated and the most promising will be developed into research projects. The objectives stated in this initial solicitation include: 1) to provide the scientific information necessary to fill critical gaps in knowledge related to the health impacts of air pollution on the most vulnerable members of our society, and 2) to facilitate the translation of this information into effective public health policies.
INTERAGENCY PROPOSAL

2.

"Advanced Home Refueling Appliance for CNG Vehicles," South Coast Air Quality Management District, Proposal No. 2523-226, $50,000
  Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles offer substantial emissions reductions and competitive pricing but, with the exception of motor vehicle fleets, have not had significant market penetration. One of the key barriers to consumer acceptance of CNG vehicles as personal cars is the very limited number of public refueling stations. Since natural gas is already available in most homes in California, home refueling of CNG vehicles appears to be a reasonable option. A project to develop a safe and cost-effective home refueling appliance (HRA) for CNG vehicles is currently under way. The work is being done by FuelMaker Corp., under contracts with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and other stakeholders and partners. The total amount of the project is about $3.8 million. The work being done under the SCAQMD contract consists of two parts. The first part funded the development, fabrication, and initial testing of the HRA (Phase 1). This work is now complete. The second part will fund the advanced testing and refinement of the HRA (Phase 2). The ARB's Mobile Source Control Division contributed $250,000 to the Phase 1 work. It is proposed that the ARB Research Division contribute $50,000 to the Phase 2 work. The development of a HRA would increase the feasibility of regulatory strategies promoting or requiring the use of CNG-fueled passenger vehicles.
INTERIM REPORT

3.

"Responses in Asthmatic Children to Short-term Fluctuations in Particulate Air Pollution: Implications for Asthma Natural History - Phase I," University of California, Berkeley, Contract No. 99-322 and No. 99-323, $3,883,027
  The Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES) is the first project funded through the Vulnerable Populations Research Program, which is designed to study California residents who may be more sensitive to the health impacts of air pollution. The focus of the FACES Study is the determination of the effects of particulate matter (PM) air pollution, in combination with other ambient air pollutants and bioaerosols, on the natural history of asthma in young children residing in the Fresno County region of California. The Fresno region is notable for both its high prevalence of asthma among an ethnically diverse population and high levels of ambient air pollution, especially PM. This project is composed of two fully integrated components: an epidemiological health component and an exposure assessment component. The overall study, designed as a 66-month project, was funded by ARB in two phases, with funding for the second phase contingent on satisfactory progress during the first phase. As part of this requirement, the FACES investigators were asked to provide an interim report on the progress of the study.
  This interim report provides details on the methods and protocols developed by the investigators and the progress they have made to meet the objectives of the study in a timely, cost-effective, and scientifically sound manner. Despite the initial slow recruitment process, FACES investigators have been very successful at subject retention and data acquisition, two essential factors when considering the internal validity or the degree to which conclusions drawn from the study are warranted. The completeness of the information gathered on participants in FACES will ensure the investigator's ability to draw valid conclusions regarding the hypotheses being tested. Quality controlled air quality data available from the First Street site included PM2.5, O3, NO2, PM10, PAHs, NO, and black carbon. Investigators chose to focus their current analysis on PM2.5 (24-hour), O3 (maximum 8-hour average), and NO2
(24-hour average) for a variety of reasons, including the revision of the PM2.5 standard, the upcoming ozone standard review, and the large body of health data related to NO2. In general, the investigators found elevated but
non-significant relationships between various measures of air pollution and morning symptoms. Multi-Day moving averages provided a better model fit for the occurrence of symptoms than did models with single day lags. The analyses presented demonstrate that the FACES investigators are progressing well in performing the study, collecting the data, and conducting the analyses.
CONTRACT AUGMENTATION

4.

"Responses to Short-term Fluctuations in Particulate Air Pollution in Asthmatic Children: Implications for Asthma Natural History - Phase II," University of California, Berkeley, Proposal No. 2522-226, $2,396,389
  The Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES) is the first project funded through the Vulnerable Populations Research Program, which is designed to study California residents who may be more sensitive to the health impacts of air pollution. FACES is designed to examine the acute and chronic health effects of particulate air pollution, in combination with other ambient air pollutants and bioaerosols, on the natural history of asthma in young children residing in the Fresno County region of California. Both a high prevalence of asthma among an ethnically diverse population and high levels of ambient air pollution, especially PM, have been noted in the Fresno County region. This project is composed of two fully integrated components: an epidemiological health component and an exposure assessment component. The objective of the health component is to collect detailed descriptive data on the subjects, including but not limited to reports of symptoms, daily measures of lung function, and use of asthma medication. The objective of the exposure assessment is to collect detailed air pollution data at centrally located ambient monitors, mobile trailers placed in schools, and in the homes of selected participants to accurately characterize exposure to air pollution. The combination of these data will allow investigators to assess how repeated
day-to-day responses to air pollution affect long-term respiratory health and disease in an asthmatic cohort of children living in a high PM region.
  The overall study was designed as a 66-month project; however, ARB funded the project in two phases, with funding for the second phase contingent on satisfactory progress during the first phase. A more detailed discussion of the progress of the study is presented in the draft interim report. Although there are not substantive changes to the hypotheses to be tested or methods to be used there are some updates that were provided in the proposal for Phase II. An updated project schedule has been provided to show the timing of both health evaluations and monitoring for the remainder of the project.
FINAL REPORTS

5.

"Evaluation of Health Impacts of Toxic Air Pollutants in a Southern California Community: A Pilot Study," University of California, Irvine, Contract No. 99-302, $270,017
  Although acute adverse respiratory effects have been established for U.S. EPA criteria air pollutants such as ozone, there is little information on acute respiratory effects from air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from outdoor toxic emission sources. Understanding the impact of VOCs alone and in combination with criteria air pollutants is important to guide future regulations to protect sensitive populations at risk. Understanding the link between exposure to VOCs and asthma symptoms and measures of pulmonary function is a difficult task, and few studies have examined the effects of VOCs on a sensitive subpopulation such as asthmatics. This pilot study, co-funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, was designed to evaluate the relationship of the daily occurrence and severity of asthma among asthmatic Hispanic school children using subject
time-activity reports, breath sample gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and personal, indoor home, and outdoor stationary site VOC samplers. Furthermore, the investigation included an exposure assessment study to estimate the associations between breath, personal, indoor, and outdoor concentrations of VOCs. Investigators reported associations between bothersome or more severe asthma symptoms recorded in diaries and breath concentrations of benzene. Ambient VOCs (including benzene, toluene, m,p-xylene, and o-xylene), measured on the same day as breath VOCs, showed notably stronger and significant associations with symptoms. Generally, indoor VOC concentrations were higher than breath VOCs. Personal exposures correlated well with indoor exposures, but did not correlate with outdoor measurements for most VOCs. These findings, coupled with experimental and other epidemiologic evidence in the literature, suggest that the pro-inflammatory and irritant nature of traffic-related pollutants can lead to adverse effects in asthmatic children.

6.

"Economic Evaluation of Ozone-Related School Absences in the South Coast Air Basin," California State University, Fullerton, Contract No. 00-334, $22,442
  Children are highly sensitive to ozone. This sensitivity leads to respiratory illnesses that are severe enough to prevent the children from attending school. The Children's Health Study funded by the ARB has estimated the relationship between ozone levels, illness, and school absenteeism. Illness-- related school absences cost the parents care time and medical expenses. Because both parents of a child are likely to be employed, a child's school absences also cause work loss and inconvenience. The results of this study show significant benefits to school children in the South Coast Air Basin because of reductions in the ambient ozone levels over the past decade. It estimated that the
K-12 schools in 1999 would have seen more than four million student absences had ozone levels not decreased from the baseline interval of 1990-92. The study estimated the economic value of fewer school absences at a range of $140 million to more than $300 million annually. The center estimate is about $223 million, or $70 per school child.
OTHER BUSINESS

7.

Update Committee on the status of the Review Panel for "The Impacts of the Air Pollution Control Industry on the California Economy," Environmental Business International, Inc., Contract No. 00-312
  Environmental Business International, our contractor for this study, has developed a working definition of the air pollution control (APC) industry to be used as a guide to the research on the industry. As requested by the Committee, staff has established a review panel of experts to check on the research methodology, survey questionnaires, and conclusions of this study. The first meeting of the review panel was held at the Cal/EPA building on May 3, 2002. The panel discussed the working definition of the APC industry developed by the contractor, reviewed survey methodology and other data sources, and discussed potential outcomes of the study. The panel recommended a number of changes in the working definition, which was incorporated by the contractor. The contractor will continue to consult with the review panel and seek feedback and review as needed.

8.

Informational Item: Vulnerable Populations Research Program Research Plan
  The Air Resources Board is mandated to protect the most sensitive citizens in California from the adverse health impacts of air pollution. The Vulnerable Populations Research Program (VPRP) was developed to study the health impacts of air pollution on populations that may be more vulnerable due to a number of factors including increased biologic sensitivity, a greater potential for exposure, and social and economic factors that may effect biologic response and exposure. A Research Plan has been developed in accordance with the requirements set forth in the VPRP budget change proposal and with the advice and assistance of the VPRP External Advisory Committee. The Research Plan is designed to provide the Board and the California Legislature a detailed plan on the future directions of the program, and an update on the progress of the program and work completed to date. The Research Plan contains specific information about the progress of the Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES), the first study to be funded out of the VPRP. In addition, the plan contains summaries of requests for proposals that have been developed by ARB staff.

9.

Early Data Release to Public and Industry, "Collection of Evaporative Emissions Data from Off-Road Equipment," Automotive Testing Laboratory, Contract No. 00-315, $285,912
  Automotive Testing Laboratories has produced evaporative emission data from 40 pieces of off-road equipment, comprised of lawn-and-garden devices, motorcycles, and generators. Data are yet to be taken from recreational watercraft.
  The contract period ends in the fall of 2003. However, Monitoring and Laboratory Division needs the data to support a regulatory proposal in the spring of 2003. To accommodate that need, we have asked the contractor to make available a draft final report covering the data taken to date, for the RSC to consider at its meeting in December 2002. However, to enable a regulatory proposal next spring, PTSD needs to present new emission inventory estimates, based on the new data, to stakeholders in late October. Industry is requesting that the data become public at that time, if not sooner. RD management has approved early release of the data as a preliminary draft not to be cited or quoted.


Research Screening Committee

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