95-9b                                                                                                  May 22, 1995

Contact: Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch

 For Immediate Release

California Air Resources Board Announces First Phase of SJV PM10 Study

        California Air Resources Board and San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District officials today kicked off the data collection phase of the California Regional PM10 Air Quality Study.

        Doug Vagim, Fresno County Supervisor and Air Resources Board member said, "We are currently collecting data on emissions and air quality from throughout the Valley as part of this study period. Additional fund raising and preliminary field testing are scheduled to start later this year."

        The multi-year, $23 million research project is expected to provide the nationwide partnership of government and business interests with the most comprehensive information yet gathered about the origin and the effects of potential controls for the Valley s airborne particles. To date, more than $7 million has been pledged to the study by federal state and local governments, with another $8 million needed to continue the work set for fiscal year 1997-98.

        The massive research effort is being managed by the same policy committee that guided the highly successful San Joaquin Valley Ozone study. The policy committee began this study's planning phase in 1991 and other phases of the program will continue through 2000. A final report on the results of the study is expected in 2001. That information will help air quality officials determine the most effective and least costly methods available to control the Valley's particulate emissions.

        Study data is expected to help set the foundation for clean-up efforts to reduce particulate emissions required by the 1990 federal Clean Air Act. The Act requires pollution controls by 2001 to limit the amount of airborne particulate in areas that violate federal air quality standards.

        Known as PM-10, particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (about one-fifth the size of a human hair) can bypass the natural defenses of the nose and throat and be deposited deep into sensitive lung tissue. Once embedded inside the respiratory system, those particles can contribute to health problems such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and cancer.

        James D. Boyd, Air Resources Board executive officer said, Research in other parts of the nation and in Southern California has shown that exposure to fine particles can result in higher numbers of respiratory illnesses and may be a cause of some premature deaths. What we need to learn more about is the origin, chemical makeup and distribution of those particles in the Valley.

        In addition to the public health threats, particulates reduce visibility and adversely affect the quality of life for the 3.5 million Valley residents. The San Joaquin Valley Unified APCD is one of 33 California air pollution control districts that violate either state or federal particulate standards. Only Lake County, in NorthernCalifornia, attains both state and federal particulate and visibility standards.

        Because of the vast number of particulate sources, the chemical makeup and particle size can vary sharply between different areas. Other ARB research has shown that urban particulate matter is comprised largely of tire and road dust, diesel and gasoline exhaust, and industrial activity.

        The Valley's particulates can be emitted by those sources and also can be caused by residential woodsmoke and farming activities. California Regional PM10 Air Quality Study researchers will try to better define the composition of Valley particulates emitted by pollution sources in the region's cities and farming areas, as well as its major freeways and oil refining facilities.

        Because of our unique combination of rural and urban areas, the Valley's mixture of particulates is likely to be very different from particle blends found in a highly urban area, such as metropolitan Los Angeles. We need this information to make the best policy decisions for controlling the Valley's air pollution problems, Vagim added.

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