Research Screening Committee Meeting
October 12, 2001

This page updated July 13, 2005.

State of California


Research Screening Committee Meeting

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

October 12, 2001
9:30 a.m.



"Development and Application of Ambient Aerosol Concentrators to Conduct Health Effects Studies in the Los Angeles Basin," University of California, Los Angeles, $1,200,000
  The risk to public health from exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) is a major concern. While harmful effects from particulate matter exposure are well documented, a great deal of controversy exists over the extent and nature of these effects. Studies are needed to determine the components and size fraction of PM responsible for the adverse health outcomes. This proposal is for years three through five in a five-year program, which uses innovative concentrator technology to study the mechanisms and toxicity from the unique PM in California. During the first two years of this program, the investigators designed and characterized the performance of the fine, ultrafine and coarse concentrators to be used in inhalation studies. In addition, animal exposures and cell culture studies were initiated to investigate the toxicity of particles at different locations in the Los Angeles Basin. The ultimate goal for this program is the development of fully transportable facilities to concentrate coarse, fine and ultrafine particles for the exposure of animal models, cell culture systems and human volunteers. These studies will be used to determine cardiac and respiratory effects from particle exposure and will investigate size, site and seasonal differences in ambient PM. The concentrator program is strengthened considerably by interactions and linkages with other Federal and State programs, including the Air Resources Board's Children's Health Study. The complete characterization of the PM exposures in this program will be performed in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) funded Southern California Particle Center and Supersite (SCPCS) programs. In addition, this investigation is a multi-campus effort allowing expertise to be drawn from the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA), the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Exposure to model systems using synthetic particles cannot mimic the variability and complexity of the real life exposures to ambient PM. This program will result in the ability to characterize and generate exposures to real-time ambient California PM in all its complexity. Understanding the relative toxicity of size, site and seasonal differences in ambient PM is vital to the development of future regulatory and research directions.


"Improved Reactivity Estimates for Volatile Organic Compounds used in Architectural Coatings," University of California Riverside, $240,102
  This proposal is an extension of an existing research project entitled "Evaluation of Atmospheric Impacts of Selected Coatings VOC Emissions,". The overall objective of this project is to reduce uncertainties in ozone impact estimates for selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from architectural coatings. This project will include additional environmental chamber and direct reactivity screening measurement research needed to increase our knowledge about the potential of VOCs in architectural coatings to form ozone. The first task uses the next generation smog chamber to determine the effects of selected types of coatings constituents on ozone formation under a range of reactant. The second task applies a direct reactivity measurement method to a full range of compounds and petroleum distillates used in architectural coatings in California. The results of this project will provide necessary information regarding the feasibility of a
reactivity-based control strategy for architectural coatings.


"Incidence and Severity of Component Malfunction and Tampering in Heavy-Duty Vehicles"
  The objective of this project is to estimate the incidence of malfunctions and tampering that can increase PM or Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles. According to previous information, such faults have been common among on-road vehicles and can seriously augment emissions. The contractor will obtain data from several different sources, including a literature review, analysis of existing data from the ARB's heavy-duty
on-road inspection program, surveys of records at repair facilities, and road-side inspections to be carried out in concert with staff from the Mobile Source Control 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. The ARB will use the information from both projects to improve the emissions inventories for diesel vehicles and to design an inspection and maintenance program.


"Estimating the Prevalence of Asbestos in Automotive Friction Products"
  The ARB has identified asbestos as a toxic air contaminant, and asbestos is emitted from the wear of automotive friction products such as brakes. Although the U.S. EPA banned asbestos from these products in 1989, that ban was subsequently overturned. Brake manufacturers had begun switching to alternative materials, but some brakes still contain asbestos. Although data indicate that motor vehicles may be a significant source of asbestos, the amount is unknown. The contractor will obtain the percentage of asbestos in brakewear by weight, by analyzing brake dust samples taken from the vehicles being repaired. The ARB would apply these values to generate an inventory of asbestos emissions from motor vehicles. Based on these results, the ARB staff will be able to assess the potential need for regulatory control of asbestos used in automotive friction products.


"Alternatives to Automotive Consumer Products that use Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) and / or Chlorinated Organic Compound Solvents"
  About 4.5 million aerosol spray cans and spray bottles of automotive cleaning and degreasing products are sold in California each year. These automotive products are estimated to emit 16.4 tons per day (tpd) of VOCs and 5.2 tpd of chlorinated toxic air contaminants (TACs). Automotive products include brake cleaners, carburetor cleaners, engine degreasers, and general-purpose degreasers. Screening tests will be used to identify the most promising near-zero-VOC alternatives to traditional automobile consumer products. These alternatives will be evaluated and compared to the currently used automotive products in automotive maintenance and repair facilities.
  The ARB has statewide responsibilities to reduce TAC emissions through its Air Toxics Program, and to reduce VOC emissions through its Consumer Products Program. The work proposed in this RFP could lead to feasible alternative formulations that would reduce emissions of VOCs and TACs from automotive products. Therefore, the proposed research would support two important ARB programs.


"Near-Source Exposure to Crystalline Silica in California: Pilot Study," University of California, Davis, $249,970, Contract No. 98-348
  Crystalline silica is currently under consideration as a toxic air contaminant (TAC) due to its potential human carcinogenic (lung cancer) and non-carcinogenic (bronchitis, silicosis) health effects. Quantitative determination of crystalline silica levels in air samples downwind of industrial sources is required to determine the general population's exposure to this potentially toxic air contaminant. A pilot study was carried out at a sand and gravel plant as a representative crystalline silica stationary source. The pilot study's objectives were to identify the best sampling and analytical techniques for quantifying crystalline silica that can distinguish stationary source crystalline silica from background sources of fugitive dust, and to determine the crystalline silica levels as a function of distance downwind of a stationary source in California. The pilot study results indicate that the downwind crystalline silica and particulate matter levels were very consistent at a given sampling location from
day-to-day, and were significantly higher than the upwind levels. The pilot study results highlight several sampling and analytical issues that should be considered in future efforts to quantify the crystalline silica levels downwind of large non-point sources such as sand and gravel plants, quarries, and construction sites. The results also clearly indicate that further field sampling near crystalline silica sources is necessary in order to quantify actual emissions from these sources. Thus, before crystalline silica is listed as a TAC by the Board, significant more work needs to be done to understand the potential impacts of crystalline silica sources on human health.


"Adapting Biological Fingerprinting Methods to Source Apportionment for Fugitive Dust," University of California, Davis, $408,929, Contract No. 97-321
  Fugitive dust from unpaved roads, construction sites, agriculture, and other sources are a significant component of PM10 in both urban and rural areas of California. Conventional elemental analysis cannot distinguish most dust sources from one another. Microbial communities within soil contain biochemical material that can be used to differentiate among soils and identify fugitive dust sources. The objectives of this research were to continue to develop biological tools to link fugitive dusts to their source soils. This report covers work with fingerprinting methods based on two classes of biochemicals, fatty acids and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Results of both methods are closely correlated with respect to soil relationships. Nucleic acid profiles correlate with crop type and / or geographical location. DNA fingerprints also contain distinguishing features specific to each sample. Mathematical techniques for classifying soils were tested. They showed much promise for the classifying samples from known sites and identifying the sources of profiles of unknown origin. This research will contribute to the ARB's ability to identify the particular sources of soil dust causing violations of air quality standards and help to develop cost-effective controls that focus on those sources.


"Revegetation in the Antelope Valley for Particulate Matter Mitigation," University of California, Riverside, $29,956, Contract No. 99-317
  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 recolonize these lands, and they tend to persist as sources of dust for many years after the cessation of farming. Previous efforts to plant ground cover have had very low success rates. 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. The purpose of this ARB-funded portion of the program was to study the factors governing the success of planting strategies using different plant species, irrigation methods, and land treatments. This project focused on evaluating ground cover development, plant microenvironment, and physiological responses of plantings in order to develop reliable planting strategies. Coupled with other work of the Dustbusters cooperative, this project contributed to developing reliable dust control methods for use in controlling the air quality impacts of cyclical agricultural expansion and contraction in the Antelope Valley.

Research Screening Committee