Air Toxic Pollutants Associated Cancer Health Monetization Research
To apply for this project, see the pre-proposal solicitation requirements on the solicitation landing page.
Scope of Work
The primary objective of this research project is to develop a methodology to quantify and valuate cancer cases that result from exposures to toxic air pollutants. CARB currently estimates reductions in cancer risks due to regulations that reduce toxic air pollutant emissions. However, CARB has limited ability to express these benefits in monetary terms. The proposed study will develop and present a methodology for estimating the monetary benefits of cancer risk reduction estimates. This methodology would be applicable for a variety of exposure and receptor scenarios, including specific communities, regions, and racial and ethnic subgroups, if possible. This will help support CARB’s efforts to assess the effects of toxic air pollutants and understand the benefits of cancer risk reduction in priority communities, including SB 535 disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.
California regulates toxic air pollutants including toxic air contaminants or TACs such as diesel particulate matter (DPM) to protect public health and reduce serious human health risks such as cancer. CARB has adopted rules to reduce statewide or regional exposures to sources of air toxics, such as diesel exposures in commercial harbor craft regulations,1 as well as rules to reduce exposure to localized sources of air toxics including metal plating operations.2 For reductions in PM2.5, the health benefits of these rules are quantified using the methodology available on CARB’s website3. Benefits for reductions of non-PM2.5 carcinogenic air pollutants are expressed in terms of reduction in cancer risks. Cancer risk estimates are often expressed as potential cancer risks per million individuals exposed. CARB and OEHHA develop these risk estimates using established Health Risk Assessment (HRA) methodologies4, 5. At the federal level, U.S. EPA utilizes a similar methodology to determine cancer risks in their National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) program,6 where national emission inventories are used to estimate ambient air toxics associated cancer risks 7. While CARB is capable of estimating and valuating health benefits due to PM 2.5 reductions, including lung cancer hospitalizations, CARB does not have a corresponding valuation methodology for cancer risk reductions associated with reduced exposures to air toxics.
The key focus for this contract is the development of a methodology for the quantification and valuation of cancer health outcomes based upon cancer risk estimates associated with toxic air pollutant exposures. The investigators should identify toxic air pollutants to be included in the research project such as, but not limited to, DPM, Benzene, 1,3-Butadiene, Hexavalent Chromium, Nickel, Cadmium, Lead, Arsenic, Formaldehyde, and Ethylene Oxide as the basis for monetary valuation of cancer onset associated with air toxics exposures. The methodology should be applicable to different exposure scenarios and receptors, including possible estimation of health outcomes for specific racial or ethnic subgroups if cancer risk values are determined for these groups. CARB would prefer investigators to include exposure scenarios at the local or regional level if possible, in addition to statewide scenarios.
The main objectives for this project will be to:
- Develop a methodology to convert cancer risk estimates to possible cancer cases and potential cancer latency based on a given exposure level to specific toxic air pollutants.
- Identify the cancer health outcomes related to a cancer diagnosis to be evaluated in this study.
- Develop a methodology to valuate cancer health outcomes, including possible medical costs of illness and other costs related to a cancer diagnosis that may include but are not limited to out-of-pocket expenses, lost earnings for both individuals and family members, costs of caregiving expenses for the patient or dependents, pain and suffering, or other costs which may arise from cancer cases.
- Ensure that these methodologies being developed are applicable to a range of exposure scenarios including local or regional levels as well as statewide level if possible.
- Submit to CARB a report summarizing methodologies developed to valuate cancer health outcomes and any potential limitations, including peer-reviews from at least three academic experts with relevant background in air toxics and health.
- Include assessments for racial and ethnic subgroups in the development of data and approaches for valuation of costs related to cancer cases, when cancer risk estimates for these groups are determined.
The results of this study will allow CARB and others to better assess quantitative benefits associated with cancer risk reduction from various airborne toxic control measures and policies, including for racial and ethnic subgroups. This will help support CARB’s efforts to assess the effects of toxic air pollutants and understand the benefits of cancer risk reduction in priority communities, including SB 535 disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.
Due to the broad scope of this project, multidisciplinary teams and multi-university teams are encouraged to apply.
III. Scope of Work
The proposed study should address the following objectives.
Task 1: Toxic Air Pollutants and Cancer Type Assessment
- Identify and conduct a thorough literature search on:
- Existing methodologies used to quantify estimates of possible cancer cases based on cancer risk estimates associated with toxic air pollutant exposure.
- Existing methodologies for monetizing cancer health outcomes at different stages of life for different cancer types, including a broad range of potential cancer health outcomes.
- Identify California-relevant toxic air pollutants for this study, which may include but are not limited to DPM, Benzene, 1,3 Butadiene, Hexavalent Chromium, Nickel, Cadmium, Lead, Arsenic, Formaldehyde, and Ethylene Oxide
- Identify the major cancer types (e.g., lung, liver, skin, leukemia, etc.) associated with these and other toxic air pollutants, if possible.
Task 2: Cancer Risk Conversion to Cancer Cases and Health Outcomes
- Develop a methodology to convert cancer risk estimates to possible cancer cases and potential cancer latency based on a given exposure level to specific toxic air pollutants as possible. This method could include the development of a relationship between toxic air pollutant exposure and cancer onset based on epidemiological studies or modeling the expected number of cancer cases in the population for a given concentration over a lifetime period.
- Determine cancer health outcomes to be monetized for cancer cases.
Task 3: Monetization of Cancer Health Outcomes
- Investigate monetization methods for cancer health outcomes at different stages of life which may include but not limited to, willingness to pay, direct medical and hospitalization costs, and other costs associated with cancer cases such as reduced quality of life, pain or suffering, lost work days, etc. The investigators should investigate any additional health outcome categories beyond those listed that result from exposure to specific toxic air pollutants.
Task 4: Project Review and Completion
- Describe an independent peer review process and explain how a review of proposed methods will be conducted.
- Summarize how this project satisfies and addresses the following requirements and tasks in the pre-proposal:
- Completion and delivery date(s) for each task.
- Submission of quarterly progress reports, a draft final report, and a final report to CARB which also include the preparation of a plain-language summary of these reports for public dissemination.
- Participating in progress update meetings and a seminar geared toward a wide audience at the conclusion of the project.
- Preparing and providing to CARB raw data, modeled data, and all data analysis results generated through the course of the project in electronic format.
Proposals shall detail the methods, data sources, and anticipated toxic air contaminants and cancer health outcomes the proposer intends to use for this method development. The results of this study could be used for estimating valuation per unit reduction in cancer risks that CARB and others can use to assess monetary benefits associated with air toxic reduction policies.
The project proposal must include but is not limited to the following deliverables:
At the Beginning of the Contract
- All researchers must undergo cultural competency training (examples include implicit bias training, racial equity training, etc.). Trainings should be completed or scheduled within 30 days of contract execution.
- Work with CARB staff at the beginning of the project to create a 1-page plain-language outreach deliverable for the public describing the project’s goals, process, and planned deliverables (available in multiple languages, template will be provided).
During the Active Contract Period
- Quarterly Progress Reports and conference calls; The progress reports will include plain-language summaries that can be posted publicly. A progress report template will be provided.
- Regular bimonthly update meetings and consultation calls with CARB staff and key stakeholders.
Prior to Contract Close
- Submit a report outlining a step-by-step process, computer programs, all data (e.g., in Excel spreadsheets), analyses and analytical tools generated through the course of this project.
- Produce plain-language fact sheets and these will be translated into Spanish.
- Draft final report
- Peer reviews from at least three academic experts.
- Include a plain language summary in draft final report.
- Include an equity implications section in the draft final report.
- Include assessments for racial and ethnic subgroups in the development of data and approaches for valuation of costs related to cancer cases, if possible.
- Work with CARB to create plain-language outreach deliverables for the public summarizing results and the impact of the project (available in multiple languages).
- Final Report.
- Virtual or in-person seminar that communicates the research project and results to a broad public audience that includes people with both academic and non-academic backgrounds.
- Peer-reviewed publications should be publicly available (please budget for this expense; submission-ready publications shall be reviewed by CARB staff).
- Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 24 months from the start date. Cost shall not exceed $ 500,000.
- CARB Health Analyses (2021). Proposed Amendments to the Commercial Harbor Craft Regulation. https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/barcu/regact/2021/chc2021/appg.pdf
- CARB Health Risk Assessment (HRA), The Proposed Amendments to the Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Chromium Electroplating and Chromic Acid Anodizing Operations. https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/barcu/regact/2023/chromeatcm2023/isor_appf.pdf
- CARB’s Methodology for Estimating the Health Effects of Air Pollution.Retrieved February 9, 20231, from https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/documents/carbs-methodology-estimating-health-effects-air-pollution
- CARB Health Risk Assessment (HRA), https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/documents/health-risk-assessment
- OEHHA's 2015 Hot Spots guidance manual for health risk assessment: https://oehha.ca.gov/air/crnr/notice-adoption-air-toxics-hot-spots-prog…
- U.S. EPA. (2018). Technical Support Document (TSD) EPA’s 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-09/documents/2014_nata_technical_support_document.pdf
- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units—Revocation of the 2020 Reconsideration, and Affirmation of the Appropriate and Necessary Supplemental Finding; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0794. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-02-09/pdf/2022-02343.pdf
Responsiveness to the Goals and Objectives Outlined in the Proposal Solicitation(15 points)
Proposers should demonstrate a clear understanding of the policy objectives and research needs that CARB seeks to address with this project and should convey their knowledge of the subject. The proposal should spell out, in adequate detail, exactly what the Proposer proposes to do to satisfy the requirements of the Solicitation. The draft proposal must propose work that would satisfy the objective(s) stated in the Research Solicitation: The objective of this research is to develop methodology to quantify and valuate cancer cases which result from exposures to toxic air pollutants.
Policy Relevance/Benefits to the State (10 points)
Does the proposal describe how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to help CARB accomplish its mission? The results of this project should support efforts from CARB and others to assess quantitative benefits associated with cancer risk reduction from various airborne toxics control measures and policies
Previous Work (15 points)
Do the researchers have relevant experience in this area? Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Do they discuss how they will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB, other state agencies, and federal agencies such as US EPA, NSF, or NIH? If including community engagement, the relevant research partner should describe previous experience in community engagement and provide letters of support, references, or a community impact statement, describing how previous work impacted communities. Does the team bring in new talent that has not worked with CARB previously? Researchers new to CARB are encouraged to apply. Multidisciplinary teams and/or researchers from smaller universities are also encouraged to apply. 5 points will be reserved for project teams that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The project team is multi-disciplinary
- The project team members come from various universities or include non-academic institutions or community-based organizations
- The project team includes one or more members, contributing significantly to the project (i.e., a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or co-investigator, contributing 25% or more of their time to the project) who have not worked with CARB in the past 5 years.
Technical Merit (25 points)
Describe the submission's technical strengths and/or weaknesses. Proposers should demonstrate the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the actual work. Please factor in how well the draft proposal describes these areas:
- Identification of California-relevant toxic air pollutants for this study, which may include but not limited to DPM, Benzene, 1,3 butadiene, Hexavalent Chromium, Nickel, Cadmium, Lead, Arsenic, Formaldehyde, and Ethylene Oxide and also identify the major cancer types (e.g., lung, liver, skin, leukemia, etc.) associated with these air pollutants, if possible
- State-of-the-art techniques include:
- a methodology which converts cancer risk estimates to possible cancer cases and potential cancer latency based on a given exposure level to specific toxic air pollutants
- a methodology which valuates cancer health outcomes, including possible medical costs of illness and other costs related to a cancer diagnosis
- Rigorous and scientifically defensible study designs and methods
- Description of an independent peer review process and how the review on proposed methods will be conducted
- Does the proposed work address all the deliverables required in section “DELIVERABLES”? If not, the proposal should not be considered for funding.
- The review team will be selecting only one draft proposal for development into a full proposal. If this draft proposal has potential, what areas or topics should be prioritized or better explained in the full proposal?
Level and Quality of Effort to be Provided (15 points)
Does the proposal allocate time and resources in such a way that the objectives of the study will be met? Is supervision and oversight adequate for ensuring that the project will remain on schedule? Is the distribution of workload appropriate for activities such as research, evaluation and analysis, data reduction, computer simulation, report preparation, meetings, and travel?
Cost Effectiveness (20 points)
Does the cost seem appropriate for the proposed work? Does the proposed work seem feasible within the requested budget? Projects that provide co-funding should be evaluated more favorably.