ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 24, 2013

Ambient PM in the Netherlands - Interaction Between Science and Policy

Flemming R. Cassee, Ph.D., National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Netherlands

October 23, 2006
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



The science surrounding ambient air quality standards for particulate matter (PM) involves much uncertainty, and is accompanied by administrative dilemmas, concerns of citizens, scientific uncertainties, and conflicts over economic consequences. In the Netherlands, scientists have been asked to propose a solution so that all areas can comply with new standards.

Since 2005, the European Union has revised its PM10 standards. Although the annual standard remains unchanged at 40 g/m3, the daily standard was lowered from 140 g/m3 to 50 g/m3, where the latter may be exceeded only 35 times per year. Despite the fact that annual PM levels continue to decline, PM levels in many urban areas are now above the daily standard. Due to the occurrence of large scale exceedances of ambient air quality standards for PM in the Netherlands and the associated serious risks to human health, new land developments and infrastructure projects may not be realized, which would lead to serious social effects. This talk will explore current social and political debate on the consequences of the Netherlands air quality legislation, which is based on European legislation.

Speaker Biography

Flemming R. Cassee, Ph.D., heads the Department of Inhalation Toxicology at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands. He is also the principal project lead on Ambient Particulate Matter and Health at RIVM. Dr. Cassee studied biology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and worked at the Toxicology Division of the Organization for Applied Research (TNO) Nutrition and Food Research Institute, Zeist. After receiving a Ph.D. in toxicology, he conducted post-doctoral work in environmental epidemiology. Since 1995, Dr. Cassee has been studying adverse health effects of PM as an inhalation toxicologist at RIVM. He has published several scientific reports and articles in international journals and has presented several papers at international conferences. In addition, he serves on a number of advisory committees in Europe and the United States. Dr. Cassee is member of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the European Center for Environment and Health (ECEH) in Bonn, Germany, and serves on the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly-Identified Health Risks for the European Union (EU). Dr. Cassee is an invited reviewer for the US EPA's Review Committee for Particulate Matter Centers, and for the Health Effects Institute (HEI). He also serves on the External Scientific Advisory Committee of the Southern California Particle Center.

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