Characterizing Air Toxics Exposure and Risk and Evaluating EPA Modeling Tools for Policy Making

October 27, 2009 - 12:00pm

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines air toxics as pollutants that are known or suspected to cause serious health effects. Title III of the 1990 Clean Air Act established 189 chemicals as air toxics or hazardous air pollutants. Large uncertainties still exist regarding exposure, risks, and sources and there has been a heavy reliance on inventories and modeling to determine sources and risks. In January 2002, Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) embarked on a project to investigate air toxics in Allegheny County. This presentation is a will describe the results of this study. Concentrations of thirty eight volatile organic air toxics were measured at six sites specifically chosen to represent different source/exposure regimes. Two of the sites were in residential areas adjacent to large industrial sources; two of the sites were in areas thought to be influenced by substantial mobile source emissions; and two of the sites were located to characterize regional air toxic concentrations. At four of these sites, 24-hour-average concentrations were measured on a one-in-six-day schedule for a two year period to characterize long term and seasonal exposures. At three of the sites, state-of-the-art instrumentation was deployed for shorter periods of time to make hourly measurements of air toxic concentrations for source apportionment analysis. ≤π≥ Cancer and non-cancer health risks were estimated using traditional and advanced risk models and published toxicity data. To provide a more comprehensive assessment of air toxics risks, the project also analyzed archived air quality data measured by earlier studies. This broader assessment considered 65 different air toxics including metals, PAHs, coke oven emissions, and diesel particulate matter (DPM). Source apportionment yielded insight into source contributions to air toxics risks. The results of this study were used to evaluate preliminary results from the 2002 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA). For more information about this seminar, please contact: Brett Singer(510) 486-4779

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