Review of California's Health-Based Ambient Air Quality Standards

This page last reviewed October 25, 2010

The Children's Environmental Health Protection Act (SB 25, Escutia, 1999) required the Air Resources Board (ARB), in consultation with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), to review all of California's health-based ambient air quality standards by Decemer 31, 2000. The review was to determine whether the standards adequately protect public health, especially the health of infants and children. Those standards found to be inadequate to protect public health are required to be revised, with the highest priority pollutant standard to be revised by December 31, 2002.

The most current Califionia Ambient Air Quality Standards review pages can be found here.

December 7, 2000 Board Meeting - Review of Staff Report

On December 7, 2000, the ARB was presented with the findings of the standards review. The findings are summarized in the report, " Adequacy of California Ambient Air Quality Standards: Children's Environmental Health Protection Act". The staff found that the standards for particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide are inadequate to protect public health. The standards for particulate matter (PM10 and sulfate standards) were found to have the highest priority for revision. The Board approved the staff findings and also found that, due to the importance of particulate matter air pollution and its impact on the health of Californians, staff should work to present recommendations to the Board for revising the particulate matter standards by Spring 2002, ahead of the deadline set by the Legislature.

Current Review and Revision of California's Ambient Air Quality Standards

The ARB and OEHHA staffs are currently working to review and revise the California ambient air quality standards based on the final recommendations found in the report "Adequacy of California Ambient Air Quality Standards, December 7, 2000". We are maintaining a list serve for those interested in receiving information regarding the status of the standards review and revision process. The tentative schedule for review and revision is listed below:

Particulate Matter (PM10) and Sulfates June 2002 board meeting  new standards adopted
Ozone July 2004 (tentative)  
Nitrogen Dioxide December 2004 (tentative)  

Final Report: Adequacy of California Ambient Air Quality Standards
Final Report resulting from the ARB Board Meeting of December 7-8, 2000:

Executive Summary Cover and Acknowledgements (Word97 - 9,888K) (PDF - 109K)
Executive Summary and Report (Word97 - 345K) (PDF - 165K)
Appendix A - Text of Bill (Word97 - 71K) (PDF - 31K)
Appendix B - Children's Health Studies in California
(Word97 - 27K)  (PDF - 14K)
Appendix C - ARB Pollutant Summaries (Word97 - 1,477K)  (PDF - 52K)
Appendix D - Final Reports

Appendix E - Public Comments and ARB Responses (Word97 - 532K) (PDF - 140K)
Appendix F - General Issues in the Evaluation of Children's Environment Health (Word97 - 52K) (PDF - 21K)

The SB 25 Air Quality Standards Review Process:

The Ambient Air Quality Standards Review process involved the collaborative efforts of staff from the ARB and OEHHA. An initial public review draft report was peer-reviewed by the Air Quality Advisory Committee, a blue ribbon scientific panel of air pollution health experts, as well as a public review by numerous expert research scientists and the public.

The SB 25 standards review process incorporated the following interactive steps:

  1. Scientific evaluation of each standard and pollutant by expert researchers.
  2. ARB and OEHHA recommendation for future standard revision based on step 1 and internal review.
  3. Public review and comment - Phase I, Workshops on September 19 and 26, 2000.
  4. AQAC review and recommendation for future standard revision based on steps 1 through 3, meetings on October 12 and 13, 2000.
  5. ARB and OEHHA staff recommendation for future standard revision based on steps 1 through 4 and internal review.
  6. Public review and comment - Phase II.
  7. Air Resources Board Draft Staff Report submitted to the Board for its meeting on December 7 and 8, 2000, (based on steps 1 through 6 above).

For more info on Ambient Air Quality Standards please contact Linda Smith at (916) 327-8225 or email at: