Environmental Justice Research

This page last reviewed May 9, 2011


As part of the Air Resources Board's active extramural research program on exposure to and health effects from air pollution, ARB incorporates methods and objectives into planned research studies that conform to ARB's Policies and Actions for Environmental Justice.  Environmental Justice Policy VII states: "It shall be the ARB's policy to support research and data collection needed to reduce cumulative emissions, exposure, and health risk in all communities, especially low-income and minority communities."  The following ARB-funded research projects contain an EJ component.  
In response to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, ARB has convened a Global Warming Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC). Find out more about their findings and upcoming meetings at the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee web site .

Projects/Studies (those implemented strictly for EJ purposes are designated by an *)

  • Huntington Park Asthma Study* (Contract 99-302, Completed 2002)
    This pilot study was designed to evaluate the relationship of the daily occurrence and severity of asthma to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exposure among 26 Hispanic asthmatic school children, living in Huntington Park, East Los Angeles County, a highly industrialized area flanked by major freeways and trucking routes. The study results show that ambient VOCs including benzene and criteria pollutants showed an association with asthma symptoms.

  • Children's Microenvironmental and Personal Pollutant Exposures Study for SB25
    Indoor and personal exposure monitoring conducted to comply with SB 25 to provide comprehensive data on the levels of children's exposure to air pollutants and to facilitate an assessment of the adequacy of the monitoring network in estimating children's exposures. Measurements of indoor air quality and limited health surveys were conducted in EJ communities such as Boyle Heights and Wilmington.

  • Vulnerable Populations Research Program (VPRP) 2003 Research Plan
    The overall goal of the Vulnerable Populations Research Program (VPRP) is to provide the scientific support, through research efforts, for ARB's regulatory and non-regulatory programs that aim to protect all California residents, including those subpopulations considered especially vulnerable, from the adverse effects of air pollution. The major objectives of the VPRP are to identify susceptible subpopulations, to quantify the degree to which their health is compromised, and to characterize their exposures to air pollutants. The 2003 VPRP Progress Report and Research Plan contains recommendations and priorities for future research activities.
  • Low-cost, Easy-to-use Air Monitoring Program*
    ARB has initiated two projects to develop low-cost, easy-to-use monitors to be used by concerned communities. ARB's Innovative Clean Air Technology(ICAT) program provides a platform for development.  The two ICAT projects are:
Project Number Summary Final Report
ICAT 02-5 UC Berkeley and LBNL N/A
ICAT 04-3 Aerosol Dynamics 4.51 MB PDF

  • Traffic Assessment in the East Bay Children's Respiratory Study* (Contract 03-327, Completed 2008)
    This study will use a database developed from an examination of air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5) black carbon (BC) and nitrogen oxides (NOX and NO2), in an epidemiological study to examine respiratory health among children living and attending schools at varying distances from high-traffic roads in Alameda County, CA. The study population is 85% nonwhite with a high percentage of low-income families.
Final Report (2.55 MB PDF)

  • Assessing AB 1493's Impact on Low-income Communities (in-house)*
    The impact of vehicle changeover will be assessed for the low-income population of California and businesses in EJ communities. The ARB Climate Change page has the AB 1493 Draft Report and Fact Sheet.

Other Related Projects/Studies

  • Children's School Bus Exposure Study (Contract 00-322, Completed 2003)
    A comprehensive study of pollutant exposures during school bus commutes, in which measurements were made inside instrumented school buses along actual bus routes in Los Angeles, and at bus stops and areas of bus loading and unloading. The main bus route used was through EJ neighborhoods. The study found that exposures to diesel related pollutants (DRPs) on board uncontrolled diesel school buses were significantly higher than roadway pollutant concentrations alone would indicate. This was largely due to "self pollution", or the intrusion of the bus's own exhaust into the cabin after leaving the exhaust pipe. The influence of other traffic was also a key determinant of exposure to DRPs. Cleaner buses showed lower exposures to DRPs.
Final Report (5.22 MB PDF)

  • School Bus Exhaust Intrusion and Feasible Mitigation Measures
    This is a follow up to the 2003 ARB Children's School Bus Exposure Study that found that intrusion of a school bus's own exhaust into the cabin contributes to on-board pollution levels. This new study will determine how the exhaust gets into the school bus cabin and will investigate potential mitigation methods. Such measures will provide low-cost methods for schools to reduce the children's exposure to exhaust during their school bus commutes.
  • Analysis of Building Characteristics and Indoor Environmental Quality in California Classrooms
    This follow-up study will further analyze data collected for the California Portable Classrooms Study. That prior study of California portable classrooms collected a wealth of data in schools across the state, and found a number of serious environmental problems in California classrooms. The new study will analyze variables on ventilation and energy-related factors, and socioeconomic indicators, and relationships to indoor air quality and other environmental characteristics. This project is co-funded with the California Energy Commission.
  • Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES)
    The Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (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. The study subjects include 44% Hispanic, 14% black, 2% Asian, and 19% low-income families (less than $15,000 household income) among the 250 participants.
Final Report (6.81 MB PDF)

  • Health Benefits of Incremental Improvements in Air Quality
    The ARB and South Coast Air Quality Management District are co-funding a study to quantify the heath and economic benefits from improvements in air quality in the South Coast Air Basin from 1980 to 2000. The study will take account of socioeconomic effects in the study of the effects of improved air quality.
Final Report (1.17 MB PDF)

  • Harbor Communities Monitoring Study
    The goal of the Project is to develop improved tools for measuring pollutant concentrations in the air and detecting areas where concentrations of these pollutants are high.

For more information regarding Research Activities at the ARB,
please contact Annmarie Rodgers, at (916) 323-1517.