Research Screening Committee Meeting
February 26, 2002

This page updated June 28, 2005.

State of California


Research Screening Committee Meeting

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

February 26, 2002
9:30 a.m.



"Design and Construction of a Mobile Engine Testing Facility for Controlled Human Exposure Studies," University of California, San Francisco, $349,155
  Several recent nasal installation studies suggest that diesel exhaust particulate matter (PM) may exacerbate
pre-existing allergies, and may facilitate development of new allergies. However, there is very little published information on effects of diesel exhaust exposure in human subjects because no exposure facilities exist anywhere. This proposal has two objectives: (1) design, construct and test an engine dynamometer system for generation of diesel exhaust for use in a human exposure chamber, and (2) design a human exposure chamber for use with the exhaust generation system. The dynamometer system will be capable of operating with multiple types of engines (i.e., diesel, CNG, or gasoline). Funding of this facility will make it possible to perform human studies that have been impossible to date. Construction of the proposed facility will make possible research that will provide the Board with scientific information on biological mechanisms of engine emission health effects, the role of engine emissions in allergy and asthma, and the acute effects of engine exhaust. The facility will also allow comparisons between the health effects of various fuel and engine controls. Availability of the facility will attract funding from other sources interested in health effects of engine emissions, such as the U.S. EPA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Health Effects Institute.


"Evaluation of Ozone Distribution and Effects on Conifer Forests in the Lake Tahoe Basin," USDA Forest Service, 29,945
  Concerns exist over a range of air pollution-caused ecological problems in the Lake Tahoe Basin, including the effects of ambient ozone and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on tree health. The objectives of this proposed project are: (1) to establish a network of 32 passive ozone monitoring sites in the lake basin, and (2) to utilize geographic information system techniques to prepare maps of two-week average ozone concentrations in summer 2002. Two-week average concentrations of ozone will be measured and mapped using Ogawa samplers and ArcGIS software, respectively, consistent with protocols developed in a previously funded ARB study by this research group. In a companion study, funded by the USDA Forest Service, surveys of ozone injury to native pine trees will be conducted at 24 plots previously sampled in 1987, 1992, and 1997. Data on summertime-average ozone concentrations and amounts of tree injury will be analyzed and mapped to evaluate the relationship between tree exposure to ozone and injury formation. The results of this study will be used to assess present impacts and trends in ambient ozone effects on native pines in the lake basin.


"A Post-Regulatory Evaluation of the Cost and Economic Impact Estimates of Air Pollution Control Regulations," University of California, Riverside, $149,997
  History shows that regulation can promote innovation. Innovation could in turn lower compliance costs. There is anecdotal evidence that the costs of proposed air pollution regulations were often overestimated. This is because regulated industries usually find innovative approaches to meet the regulatory requirements more cheaply than anticipated. The purpose of this study is to conduct a post-regulation evaluation of the accuracy of the cost and economic impact estimates of California air pollution control regulations. The contractor for this study will evaluate a minimum of ten regulations adopted by the Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The contractor will collect data on actual regulatory costs and economic impacts, and then compare them to original estimates. A similar comparison of actual and estimated emission reduction data will be conducted in cases where such data are available from the regulatory agencies. The contractor will provide a rationale for why such discrepancies may have occurred between actual and estimated costs, economic impacts, and emission reductions. The insights gained from this study will assist the Board and the districts to improve estimates of costs, economic impacts, and emission reductions of their proposed regulations and rules.


"Indoor Air Chemistry: Cleaning Agents, Ozone and Toxic Air Contaminants," University of California, Berkeley, $446,509
  Household cleaners contain many volatile constituents that can contribute to indoor pollutant levels, including both directly emitted Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs) and pollutants formed by chemical reaction. Household cleaners are routinely used by Californians, both in the home and in public and commercial buildings. Ozone, a very reactive gas, has been found to react with some common cleaning agent constituents to form respiratory irritants and / or carcinogens such as formaldehyde, acrolein, and numerous carboxylic acids, among others. Because of the large amount of time people spend indoors and because of the greater likelihood of exposure from emissions in indoor environments, it is important to better understand primary emissions of TACs from cleaning products as well as the nature and significance of ozone-cleaning agent interactions. The objectives of the proposed research are to identify and quantify primary emissions of TACs from cleaning products, as well as secondary emissions resulting from reactions between cleaning agent emissions and ozone under realistic indoor conditions. Tests will be conducted using realistic indoor use scenarios, so that the potential exposure of product users and room occupants can be assessed. In addition to obtaining product emissions and exposure information, the investigators will identify the conditions under which these processes contribute to elevated indoor levels of TACs. Results from this study will be used to assess the need for further refinement of consumer product regulations and to provide guidance to the public to reduce any potentially harmful exposure that may occur when using cleaning products.


"Emissions of Dioxin-Like Compounds from Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines," University of California, Davis, $720,000
  The U.S. EPA recently reassessed exposure to polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (collectively referred to as dioxins), and their health effects. They concluded that dioxins cause deleterious health effects at levels to which the general population is exposed. Combustion is the predominant source of dioxins to the environment, and diesel vehicles may be a significant source of dioxin emissions. The goal of this project is to develop a methodology to accurately sample and measure emissions of dioxins from heavy-duty diesel vehicles. This study will evaluate the use of a new radial-inflow mini-dilution system to collect raw exhaust samples of dioxins present in the particle and vapor phases. The samples will be collected from heavy-duty diesel vehicles using standard test cycles at ARB's dynamometer facilities. The effect of sulfur and chlorine on dioxin emissions will also be investigated. The resulting methodology and data will enable accurate quantification of dioxins in motor vehicle emissions, and produce data on emissions of dioxins from typical California heavy-duty diesel vehicles necessary for possible control decisions.


"Gas-Phase Formation Rates of Nitric Acid and its Isomers under Urban Conditions," NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory / California Institute of Technology, $180,000
  Ozone formation in urban smog is controlled by a complex set of reactions. The reaction of hydroxyl radical (OH) with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) to form nitric acid (HNO3) is key because it transforms two short-lived reactive intermediates into relatively long-lived nitric acid, which is a precursor for PM2.5. For this reason, the spatial and temporal distributions of ozone from urban airshed models are highly sensitive to the rate constants assumed for this reaction. It has been shown that when the current uncertainty in the OH + NO2 rate constant is propagated through an urban airshed model, there is a corresponding uncertainty of 35 ppb in the calculated ozone concentration at a downwind site (a 25 - 50 percent uncertainty in total ozone). This project will accurately measure rate constants and products branching ratios for the OH + NO2 reaction. By improving the basic understanding of OH radical termination under urban conditions, the results of this work will improve the reliability of airshed models and control strategies for ozone and PM2.5.


"Quantitative Analysis of Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry Data using YAADA," Arizona State University, $50,000
  Researchers are now able to measure the size and composition of single aerosol particles using instruments like the Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (ATOFMS) instruments developed by Prof. Kimberly Prather and others. Complete mass spectra are collected on individual particles at a rate of approximately one per second. Thus very large data sets (approximately 200 Megabytes per day) can be collected during a multi-day, multi-instrument experiment. These data sets are too large for ad hoc data analysis techniques. YAADA is a software package of data management and analysis that can be used to process these large data sets. YAADA includes functions to import, plot, and quantitatively analyze ATOFMS data. The import module rapidly converts data from the common ATOFMS data acquisition software and performs quality control checks on the data.
  This research project will develop and test a quantification module for the existing program, YAADA, which will allow users to perform quantitative comparisons of ATOFMS and reference sampler data. This will be accomplished by comparison of ATOFMS data and collocated impactor measurements of aerosol mass to determine particle detection efficiencies for the modified ATOFMS design used in the Bakersfield study. It will also compare ATOFMS data and collocated impactor measurements of aerosol carbon to determine chemical sensitivity of ATOFMS instruments for organic and elemental carbon. The resulting software will allow for a much wider analysis of the ATOFMS data collected under other ARB contracts. Quantitative aerosol measurements are needed to better understand the sources, transformations, and fate of ambient particles in order to understand the effects of particulate matter on global climate, human health, and regional visibility.


"Biological Methods of Dust Suppression in the Antelope Valley," San Diego State University, $90,000
  The Dustbusters program is a cooperative effort of business and local, state, and federal agencies to investigate reliable, cost-effective dust control measures for fallow or abandoned farmland. Fugitive dust from the bare soil of fallow or abandoned farmlands has caused severe episodes of particulate air pollution (PM10) in the Antelope Valley. The natural desert vegetation does not readily re-colonize these lands, and they tend to persist as sources of dust for many years after the cessation of farming. The ARB-funded portion of the Dustbusters program is focused on studying the factors governing the success of various planting strategies. This particular project will apply knowledge gained in small-scale experiments to test large-scale plantings both for plant cover development and dust suppression effectiveness. Coupled with other work of the Dustbusters cooperative, this will contribute to developing reliable dust control methods for use in controlling the air quality impacts of cyclical agricultural expansion and contraction in the Antelope Valley.


"Determination of Asbestos Content of Current Automotive Dry Friction Materials, and the Potential Contribution of Asbestos to Particulate Matter Derived from Brake Wear," California Department of Health Services, $99,969
  In 1991, the U.S. EPA allowed the use of asbestos in disc brake pads, drum brake linings, and clutch facings. Recent reports show that asbestos is widely used in after-market brakes. To determine the need to control emissions of this carcinogen, ARB staff need to estimate the possible extent of asbestos emissions due to brake wear from vehicles used in California. First, the contractor will develop an inventory of asbestos contained in brakes, and also develop an asbestos analysis scheme. Next, the contractor will institute a sampling program at brake repair shops focusing on brakes with high asbestos content, and perform laboratory analysis of the brakes and brake-wear dust. Finally, the contractor will characterize the form, size, and levels of asbestos present in brake dust. The results should help the ARB assess the potential health threat from public exposure to asbestos emissions generated from brake wear and thereby determine the need for regulatory control.


"Incidence of Malfunctions and Tampering in Heavy-Duty Vehicles," University of California, Riverside, $199,103
  Insufficient data is available on the number of component malfunctions or tampering with in-use heavy-duty vehicles. This data is needed to estimate the in-use fleet emissions and to identify the most significant occurrences. The objective of this project is to estimate the incidence of malfunctions and tampering that can increase PM or NOX emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles. According to old information, such faults have been common among on-road vehicles and can seriously increase emissions. The contractor will obtain data from several different sources, including a literature review, warranty information, analysis of existing data from the ARB's heavy-duty on-road inspection program, surveys of records at repair facilities, and roadside inspections to be carried out in concert with staff from Enforcement Division. Another project, sponsored by the Coordinating Research Council, will measure the emission effects of many of the malfunctions whose occurrence rates will be estimated in the ARB-sponsored project. ARB will use the information from both projects to improve the emissions inventories for diesel vehicles and to design an inspection-and-maintenance program.


"Air Pollutant Exposure Associated with Distributed Electricity Generation", University of California, Berkeley, $13,441
  In California, electricity production is a significant contributor to statewide emissions of toxic and criteria air pollutants. Historically, electricity production has been controlled by large, regulated utilities, but experts anticipate that major changes may be needed to meet California's future energy needs. "Distributed generation," or the generation of electricity near its place of use, is thought to be an important factor in future energy supply scenarios. Because of the range in pollutant emissions released by distributed generation technologies, there is concern that a shift from central electric generation will allow for the proliferation of small, high-emitting pollution sources in proximity to residential areas. Under these conditions, higher pollutant exposures are expected for people living near distributed generation units, as well as for increased acute and chronic health burdens. The objective of this project is to conduct an exploratory assessment of the air pollutant exposure implications of a shift in electricity generation from central station power plants to distributed generation in California. The project will primarily involve analysis of existing data and the use of established modeling tools. To assess changes in exposure, annual pollutant emission estimates for a suite of pollutants (e.g., reactive organic gases, nitrogen oxides, PM10) will be developed using data from ARB's emissions inventory. Gaussian plume modeling will be used to predict annual average pollutant concentrations adjacent to power plants and distributed generation units. Population-weighted exposures will be calculated to examine differences in pollutant exposure from power plants vs. distributed generation technologies. The analyses will provide information fundamental to characterizing the potential health risks associated with the use of distributed generation to meet California's future energy needs.


"Health Impacts of Ultrafine Particulate Matter in California Community Air," ($1.5 million with Possible
Co-Funding from SCAQMD)
  Ultrafine particles have recently been suggested as a concern to health with only a few studies published to confirm this concern. These studies suggest that lung tissue injury, as well as cardiac and cardiovascular changes may be caused by these particles. Ultrafine particles result from several processes, but two prominent ones of interest are combustion and atmospheric reactions. The objective of this study is to determine how ultrafine particles, as a component of community air pollution, affect the health of sensitive people. The health impacts and exposures of concern in this study are of a short-term duration: hours or at most a few days. Concentrations, size distributions, and probable toxicity of these particles may vary considerably with relation to the source types and proximity to these specific sources. It will be important to accurately characterize exposures to these particles as well as other possibly harmful air pollutants that may both be harmful and emitted by various combustion sources. The results of this study will allow the Board to determine the nature and extent of health risks posed by ultrafine particles in community air. Further, this study should also clarify the nature of health risks posed by brief exposures to the various components of particulate matter in ambient air.


"Development of Low Cost, User Friendly Air Monitoring Devices," ($1.5 million with 1/3 from ARB and 2/3 from Other Funding Sources)
  Routine air quality measurement devices are expensive and typically require skilled technicians to assure proper operation. Additionally, levels of some air pollutants can vary substantially over a given region, requiring multiple measurements to accurately measure the levels to which the population is exposed. There is a demand for low cost, easy-to-use devices for deployment indoors and outdoors in communities where disproportionate impacts from air pollution are suspected. There is also a need for portable, economical, devices that can be used for
short-term measurements in locales under consideration for siting of power plants and other sources, so that the potential impacts of proposed plants can be better understood and mitigated.
  The objective of this Request for Proposals is to develop at least two, low cost, user-friendly air pollutant measurement devices that can be used by homeowners, communities, local governments, and others to readily assess air quality in many locales in their area. Devices that measure particulate pollutants and / or toxic air contaminants, and that have good potential for future commercialization, are of greatest interest. It is anticipated that two new or newly-adapted devices will be developed in two to three years under this project; assistance with future commercialization where appropriate can be achieved through our Innovative Clean Air Technologies Program. These devices will be used to meet the needs of members of the public, communities, and others for quick, economical measurements of air quality.


"Heavy-Duty Vehicle Fleet Characterization for Reduction of NOx and Particulate Matter Emissions in the South Coast Air Basin," Jack Faucett Associates, Contract No. 96-317
  Heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) are large contributors to the California on-road motor vehicle emissions inventory for NOx and PM. Accordingly, the State Implementation Plan contains measures that affect HDVs and seek to increase the percentage of low-emitting heavy-duty vehicles in the statewide fleet. HDV characteristics and their emissions need to be examined carefully in order to control their emissions more effectively. Specifically, the ARB needs detailed information regarding HDV activity (e.g., heavy-duty truck populations by vehicle weight class, numbers of starts, vehicle miles traveled) and usage (e.g., area of operation). This study will provide information to characterize the HDV fleets, and estimate the emissions associated with relevant subpopulations of trucks, and investigate cost-effective incentives to encouraging low-emission technology and operational practices for fleets.


Continued Sponsorship for the National Environmental Respiratory Center

Research Screening Committee