(June 1, 2004, updated) -- In upgrades that are expected to provide additional data on LB air quality, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has set up a new, permanent monitoring site on the LBCC Pacific Coast campus (PCH b/w Orange and Walnut Aves.) as well as a temporary monitoring site -- the latter specifically for the MATES-3 study -- on the Wilmington/Long Beach border on Santa Fe Ave.
The AQMD's new permanent monitoring site on the LBCC PCH campus, set up in December 2003, will sample extremely small particulate matter: PM10 [less than 10 microns], PM2.5 [less than 2.5 microns] -- with continuous PM2.5 monitoring -- and has a wind monitoring system. PM10 and PM2.5 have been implicated by a number of experts in various health-related problems.
AQMD's temporary MATES-3 monitoring site on Santa Fe Ave., which will remain in place for approximately one year, as well as AQMD's permanent monitoring site in the 3600 block LB Blvd. (which has been in place for many years), will be part of the MATES-3 study, a year-long third generation study launched in February 2004 to assess levels of cancer-causing toxic pollutants in southland air.
The new monitoring sites should provide data indicating to what extent there's a gradient (change in) in certain pollutants as one moves inland from Port impacted areas.
AQMD says MATES-3's goal is to update toxic air pollution levels and toxic emission inventories, and input those data into a computer model of air dispersion to determine the cancer, as well as non-cancer, health risk from air toxics across the southland. The study also will investigate potential toxic "hot spots" in communities.
The prior MATES-2 study concluded that diesel exhaust is responsible for roughly 70% of the total cancer risk from air pollution; emissions from mobile sources (including cars, trucks, ships, trains and planes) account for roughly 90% of the cancer risk; and the highest cancer risk is in southern L.A. County, including the Port area and along major freeways.
LB area activists and environmentalists have since labelled the MATES-2 increased cancer risk in southeast L.A. County (which generally appears to follow the 710 freeway south toward LB and Port areas) a "diesel death zone."
LBReport.com was the first LB media outlet to report the MATES-2 study in detail...and since April 2002 has maintained a permanent link the cancer risk modeling maps on LBReport.com's front page.
AQMD Executive Director Barry Wallerstein said in a written release that the new MATES-3 study "will help us gauge the effectiveness of our current regulations and serve as a vital tool in helping shape future air quality and environmental justice policies."
MATES-3 monitoring will continue through early 2005...with completion of the study expected in summer 2005.
AQMD's web site says it is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of L.A., Riverside and San Bernardino counties...home to nearly 16 million people - about half the population of the state of California.