(Feb. 6, 2004) -- A major updated study to assess levels of cancer-causing toxic pollutants in southland air is now underway: the South Coast Air Quality Management District has begun MATES-3. a third generation Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study.
Earlier this week, AQMD began collecting air samples for some substances in the MATES-3 study and sampling for all substances is expected to begin in mid-February.
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.
AQMD plans to use at least one LB monitoring site -- its current fixed monitor in the 3600 block of Long Beach Blvd.
In addition, starting in March AQMD will use moveable monitoring stations to sample at a dozen or more neighborhood sites near toxic emission sources or in areas where it says community members are concerned about health risks from air pollution.
In a written release, AQMD said "Such neighborhood sites could be near airports, railroads, warehouses, landfills, high-volume vehicle traffic or multiple commercial or industrial facilities. Sampling at each neighborhood site will last for up to two months."
AQMD spokesperson Tina Cherry told LBReport.com that locations for the mobile sites have not yet been determined, but the agency expects to know the areas by March.
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 maps on LBReport.com's front page.
SCAQMD 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 will monitor for 21 toxic air contaminants and four other substances at ten sites across the L.A. Basin...including the AQMD LB monitoring site in the 3600 block of Long Beach Blvd.
MATES-3 will double the monitoring frequency of MATES-2 from one-in-six days to one-in-three. And MATES-3 will include limited sampling for naphthalene, a combustion byproduct that AQMD says "may pose a significant health hazard, according to current assessments by environmental agencies and academic researchers."
MATES-3 monitoring will continue through early 2005...with completion of the study expected in summer 2005.
The MATES-3 Fixed Monitoring sites will be in Anaheim, Burbank, Compton, Fontana, Huntington Park, Long Beach (3600 block LB Blvd.), L.A., Pico Rivera, Rubidoux and Wilmington.
The toxic air contaminants to be monitored in MATES-3 are: 1,3-Butadiene, Acetaldehyde, Arsenic, Benzene, Beryllium, Cadmium, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform, Elemental Carbon, Formaldehyde, Hexavalent Chromium, Lead, Manganese, Methylene Chloride, Naphthalene, Nickel, Perchloroethylene, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Propylene Dichloride, Trichloroethylene and Vinyl Chloride.
Other substances to be monitored in MATES-3 are: PM10, PM2.5, Organic Carbon and Total Carbon.
Following completion of MATES-2, AQMD’s Governing Board adopted (in 2000 and 2001) a series of clean fleet rules to cut diesel exhaust from transit buses, trash trucks, street sweepers, airport taxis, school buses and other fleets. Diesel engine manufacturers and oil companies challenged the regulations in the U.S. Supreme Court...which is expected to issue an opinion this spring.
AQMD’s Board also adopted regulations to reduce perchloroethylene from dry cleaners and other industries, and hexavalent chromium from metal plating facilities...and approved over $100 million in local and state funding to help replace aging, dirty diesel engines in school buses, marine vessels and other vehicles with lower-emission diesel and alternative fuel models.