ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

Air Pollution Problems, Policies And

James N. Pitts, Jr., Research Chemist, University of California, Irvine, Professor Emeritus and Past Director University of California Statewide Air Pollution Research Center, University of California, Riverside

May 15, 2002
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Also presented in El Monte on May 22, 2002



Over four decades, several fundamental, scientific, regulatory, and public health policies have provided a strong foundation for California's worldwide leadership in the development and implementation of scientifically sound and technologically effective air pollution control strategies and regulations. We provide some historical insight into the relevance of these ARB and OEHHA "policies/philosophies" to certain controversial aspects of the "atmospheric arenas" of ozone and photochemical oxidant, PM, diesel exhaust, and organophosphate pesticides. Impacts of some major "players" in the "game".from scientists to elected officials.are described.

Following Shakespeare's adage, "The past is prologue," we conclude with some personal observations on several areas of "research" and associated academic "researchers" in chemical warfare during WWII. The subsequent involvement of these scientists in the 1950s in studies which led to the discovery and understanding of the new atmospheric phenomenon of "LA smog" is described.

Speaker Biography

James N. Pitts, Jr. is one of the winners of this year's Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award in recognition of his substantial and unique contributions to the fields of air pollution and atmospheric chemistry. He is a Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at the University of California, Riverside and currently a Research Chemist at the University of California, Irvine. He has authored over 300 publications, most of them in the fields of photo- and atmospheric chemistry. His work in the late 1960s through the 1980s formed much of the basis of our current efforts to understand the chemistry of the troposphere and its role in producing air pollution. At this time, as a founding Director of the U.C. Statewide Air Pollution Research Center, he gathered around him a group of brilliant graduate students, post doctoral fellows and young research chemists. Roger Atkinson, Janet Arey, Arthur Winer, Alan Lloyd, Hajime Akimoto, Barbara Finlyason-Pitts, and Ernesto Tuazon are only a partial list of his scientific progeny and collaborators. The textbooks he has co-authored, including the most recent - Chemistry of the Upper and Lower Atmosphere - serve as key references in the field of atmospheric chemistry and are used throughout the world by researchers and in training future air quality scientists.

Dr. Pitts is often found at the forefront of emerging air quality issues and has tirelessly worked for good science and protection of public health and welfare. Examples include his involvement on the state level on the Air Resources Board's Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants and Scientific Advisory Committee on Acid Deposition. On the national level, Dr. Pitts has served on several committees for the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Pitts also has international acclaim and has served as a consultant and lecturer, e.g. in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Norway. Dr. Pitts has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to atmospheric science including the Richard C. Tolman Medal, the Clean Air Award of the California Lung Association, the "Lifetime Achievement Clean Air Award," from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and commendations from: President Ronald Reagan, Governor Wilson, the State of California Assembly, the Senate Rules Committee, and the Air Resources Board.

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