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newsrel -- More premature deaths than previously thought from particles in vehicle exhaust

Posted: 22 May 2008 10:15:00
Please consider the following Air Resources Board press release
announcing research that reveals additional dangers from fine
particulate matter.  You can review the release online here:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/nr052208.htm .
Thank You 
Dimitri Stanich

Release 08-44
May 22, 2008
Dimitri Stanich
(916) 322-2825

More premature deaths than previously thought from particles in
vehicle exhaust
New research reveals significant new information

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board was presented
with research today showing long-term exposures to fine particle
pollution pose a greater health threat than previously

Annually, 14,000 to 24,000 premature deaths are estimated to be
associated with exposures to PM2.5, a mix of microscopic
particles less than 2.5 microns in size. A majority of these
deaths occur in highly populated areas around the state,
including the South Coast, San Joaquin Valley and San Francisco
Bay air basins.

"Particle pollution is a silent killer," said ARB Chairman Mary
D. Nichols. "We must work even harder to cut these
life-shortening emissions by further addressing pollution
sources head-on."

Particulate matter (PM) is a complex blend of substances ranging
from dry solid fragments, solid-cores fragments with liquid
coatings, and small droplets of liquid. These particles vary in
shape, size and chemical composition, and may include metals,
soot, soil and dust.

At the request of the board in 2006, ARB researchers carefully
reviewed all scientific studies on the subject and consulted
with health scientists. While exposures to particulate matter
have long been known as a serious health threat, new information
suggests that the pollutant is even more toxic than previously

Hospitalizations, emergency room visits and doctor visits for
respiratory illnesses or heart disease have been associated with
PM2.5 exposure. Other studies suggest that PM2.5 exposure may
influence asthma symptoms and acute and chronic bronchitis.
Children, the elderly and people with pre-existing chronic
disease are most at risk of experiencing adverse health effects
from PM2.5 exposure. Even small increases in PM2.5 exposures may
increase health risks.

Major contributors to PM2.5 include trucks, passenger cars,
off-road equipment, electric power generation and industrial
processes, residential wood burning, and forest and agricultural
burning. All combustion processes generally produce PM2.5.

While the new data reveals a greater threat from PM2.5, the
state's previous efforts to reduce emissions throughout the
state have been successful. The ARB in coordination with the 35
air districts throughout the state continues to develop and
implement strategies of aggressive air pollution control. These
measures have been so effective for the last two decades that PM
exposures have been reduced in California's major populated
areas. Since the official year-round monitoring of ambient PM2.5
began in 1999, concentrations have decreased 30 percent across
California, most notably in the South Coast and the San Joaquin
Valley regions.

Additionally, in 2000 ARB adopted an aggressive risk reduction
plan that targets all diesel PM sources in California. As part
of the plan, cleaner diesel fuels and new diesel engines (both
on-road and off-road) have been developed. In concert with
regulations aimed at requiring cleaner new engines, other
regulations have been adopted to address diesel engines already
on the road, including those in waste collection vehicles,
transit fleet, school buses, stationary engines, transport
refrigeration units and portable engines. Later this year, ARB
will consider rules to significantly cut diesel particulate
emissions from private truck fleets.

For more information, see:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/health/pm-mort/pm-mort.htm .

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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