ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

The Effects of Fine Particle Species on Daily Mortality and Morbidity in Six California Counties: Results from CALFINE

Bart Ostro, Ph.D., Chief, Air Pollution Epidemiology Section, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency

July 25, 2007
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



Several epidemiological studies have provided evidence of an association between daily mortality and airborne particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5). Little is known, however, about the relative effects of PM2.5 components. In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Air Resources Board embarked on a program to systematically collect data on constituents of PM2.5 throughout much of California, providing an opportunity to examine daily measurements of these data in relation to mortality.

In this presentation, Dr. Ostro reports on the results of a recent study examining the associations between daily mortality and several PM2.5 components, including elemental and organic carbon (EC and OC), nitrates, sulfates, and various metals. The findings support the hypothesis that combustion-associated pollutants are particularly important in California. PM2.5 mass and several constituents were associated with multiple mortality categories, especially cardiovascular deaths. This analysis adds to the growing body of evidence linking PM2.5 with mortality and, more importantly, indicates that excess risks may vary among specific PM2.5 components.

Speaker Biography

Bart Ostro, Ph.D., is currently the Chief of the Air Pollution Epidemiology Section, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), California Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Ostro's primary responsibilities are to develop OEHHA's recommendations for state ambient air quality standards and to investigate the potential health effects of criteria air pollutants. Dr. Ostro has published over 75 scientific papers and his research has contributed to the development of both federal and state air pollution standards for ozone, particulate matter and lead.

Dr. Ostro was a co-author of the U.S. EPA cost-benefit analysis that resulted in the federal ban of lead in gasoline. Dr. Ostro recently served on a National Academy of Sciences Committee addressing the quantification of the health benefits of reducing ambient air pollution, and is currently a member of the U.S. EPA's Science Advisory Board committee responsible for reviewing U.S. EPA's quantification of health benefits and is chairman of the Health Effects Subcommittee. Dr. Ostro has worked on establishing international air quality standards for the World Health Organization (WHO) and on estimating the global burden of disease related to air pollution, and has been involved in air pollution policy and epidemiologic training in Thailand, Chile, India, China, Indonesia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Dr. Ostro's epidemiologic/economic model for estimating the health and economic effects of air pollution control, developed for the World Bank and WHO, has been used extensively throughout the developing world. In 2005, Dr. Ostro was selected as the recipient of the Clean Air Award by the California branch of the American Lung Association.

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