Air Board Approves Over $600,000 to Protect Children's Health
SACRAMENTO – Today the California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved over $600,000 for two research projects to study the effects of air pollution on children's health. The ARB is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
ARB Chairman Alan Lloyd said, "Children's health is of great concern to this Board. Because lung function and growth can be significantly reduced in children that are exposed even to moderate levels of air pollution, more of our resources are going toward determining which sources have the greatest impact on children's health."
One of the studies approved today will determine children's exposure to pollutants while riding on school buses, waiting at stops and waiting near idling buses during loading. The $500,000 study will also use different school bus commute scenarios, sampling locations and bus fuel types, such as compressed natural gas and buses using soot traps, to characterize the range of children's exposures during their daily school bus commute. The results, expected in 2003, will be used to estimate children's exposure to toxic diesel exhaust particles and other bus-related pollutants. Results of the study may be used as guidance for future air quality rules with regard to children's health, as well as serving as a basis for evaluating the benefits of alternative fuel and emission control technologies for buses. This study is a follow-up to a two-year in-car study conducted by the ARB and South Coast Air Quality Management District that found exposure to some air pollutants and toxic compounds may be ten times higher inside vehicles than in ambient air.
Another study will focus on sources of air pollution and their levels inside portable classrooms. The $126,000 allocation furthers work in the California Portable Classrooms Study being conducted by the ARB and Department of Health Services (DHS). The Portable Classrooms Study will measure indoor air pollutant levels and environmental conditions in 240 classrooms at 60 schools, including traditional classrooms and portables.
Floor dust samples will be collected in all classrooms, particularly from carpets, which can act like a pollutant sponge. Concentrations in carpets can show a historical buildup of potentially hazardous long-term exposure to pollutants. Indoor and outdoor air will also be sampled to identify and count mold spores. Results from the study, expected in 2002, will bolster the main study by providing more information on mold spores and floor dust pollution concentrations, greatly increasing the available information on student and teacher classroom exposures to air pollutants. The results are expected to assist the ARB and DHS provide effective guidance and recommendations to prevent harmful exposures inside California's classrooms.