Sponsored by the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
Conference OverviewNew scientific knowledge is providing empirical support for the adoption of more targeted emission control strategies that have the potential for substantive net reductions in population health risk while still meeting the requirements of the Clean Air Act. The goal of the conference is to explore the scientific underpinnings of risk-based/multi-pollutant (RB/MP) policy approaches, their agricultural research implications, and their potential policy making efficacy.
Specific objectives include :
· an overview of contemporary research providing empirical support for RB/MP approaches for air quality management
· a review of RB/MP policy development at EPA and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
· a review of risk-reduction approaches to pesticide research and policy
· a prospective discussion of how these models could be applied to agricultural research
· a stakeholder and policymaker roundtable discussion of the RB/MP approach to air quality policy.
One of the hallmarks of the Clean Air Act has been the critical role played by new scientific knowledge in setting more health protective standards and corresponding control strategies. For the San Joaquin Valley, considerable progress has been made via increasingly stringent controls on industrial, agricultural, vehicular, and household-based emissions necessary to meet the mass- or concentration-based standards for fine particles (PM 2.5) and ozone. However, a rapidly growing body of scientific research is providing new insights into how and why particular chemicals in airborne pollutants disproportionately contribute to negative health outcomes. In the case of PM2.5, for example, it is now accepted that the relative toxicity of certain chemical species as well as the ultrafine particle (PM 0.1) fraction is clearly not proportionate to their mass. This knowledge is opening the door for more creative and targeted control strategies that translate into substantive overall reductions in net population health risk.
Conversely, public health advocates have raised concerns that application of the RB/MP policy approach will lead to a relaxation of agricultural regulation and, as such, is antithetical to the Clean Air Act. Resolution of this debate will require additional research, e.g. assessments of population-weighted exposure to key chemical species and PM 0.1, as well as comparable investigations into the sources of ozone and the reactivity of ozone precursors in the San Joaquin Valley. Based on research to date, the net effect of this alternative policy model would arguably focus additional resources on controlling primary emissions from sources of hydrocarbon combustion that predominate in urban areas. In addition, emerging research under the RB/MP paradigm is creating new empirical tools for reassessing the relative health risks ascribed to rural vs. urban sources of air pollutants.