Californian Air Quality Regulations Have Significantly Cut Cancer Risks, Study Finds

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

The overall collective risk of cancer via exposure to 7 toxic air contaminants in California has declined by an incredible 76% since comprehensive air quality regulations went into effect there back into 1990, according to a new study from the California Air Resources Board.

To be more specific here, the study examined cancer risk for the years of 1990 through 2012 as associated with various air contaminants. Out of the 7 contaminants investigated, diesel particulate matter is known to be the most relevant to cancer risk — such contaminants are released into the air primarily as a result of truck and bus operation.



While the contaminant wasn’t measured directly, a surrogate method was used to determine that concentrations of diesel particulate matter fell by 68% between the years of 1990 and 2012 — this in spite of the fact that the state’s population grew by 31%, the gross state product rose by 74%, and diesel vehicle miles traveled increased by 81%.

Green Car Congress provides more:

The nearly 70% drop in DPM coincided with actions taken over the years, beginning in the 1990s, to reduce diesel emissions. In the 1990s, California adopted a reformulated diesel fuel program; started a heavy-duty diesel truck roadside inspection program; implemented particle pollution standards for urban transit buses; and established standards for off-road diesel engines. In 2006, California began requiring ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel.
Following the establishment of California’s statewide Truck and Bus Rule in 2008, California began requiring diesel particulate filters on trucks, reducing diesel particulate matter from the exhaust gas of diesel engines.

Based on monitoring data, concentrations of benzene; 1,3-butadiene; perchloroethylene; and hexavalent chromium declined 88–94%. (The reduction of benzene and 1,3-butadiene was largely the result of California gasoline reformulation in 1996, ARB said.) Also, the ambient and emissions trends for each of these four TACs were similar. Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are formed in the air photochemically from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), declined only 20–21%.

With improving regulations, the risk of cancer in the state is expected to continue dropping notably, according to the researchers involved in the new findings — “improvements to regulations” being a reference mostly to tighter controls on diesel truck and bus operation, as well as to the operation of diesel equipment at/in rail yards and ports.

The new research was published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Of course, it would be much better if regulations were followed as required. On that matter, I direct you here:

How Common Are EPA “Defeat Devices” In The Auto Industry?

Hitler Responds To Volkswagen Scandal (Video), VW Stock Down

Probe Of Emissions Cheating By All Manufacturers Considered

It Gets Worse and Worse: VW Ripped Off US Taxpayers

Emissions Cheat Installed in 11 Million VW Diesels, Globally

European Commission Will Begin Requiring “Real World” Vehicle Emissions Testing In 2017

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica TV Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre