DHS LABORATORY FACILITY, BERKELEY, CA
AGENCY REPORTS ON CURRENT IAQ ACTIVITIES
1. American Lung Association of Los Angeles County (ALA-LAC) -- David Berger ()
a. ALA-LAC is moving forward with our IAQ Schools' Mentor Program. We are meeting this week with the Southern California Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association to discuss collaboration, recruiting IH's as mentors. One school district is ready to implement the EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools Action Program with two pilot schools.
b. A local TV station ran a four-day series on toxic mold. It generated enormous interest, and we received over 500 calls from a very concerned public.
2. California Air Resources Board / Indoor Air Quality & Personal Exposure Assessment Program -- Peggy Jenkins ()
a. Progress on Indoor Product Standards and Test Protocols. CARB Indoor Program staff have continued their involvement in various national level efforts to develop indoor product standards and/or test protocols.
Two of the workgroups developing standards for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. are moving forward. The General Standards Workgroup has developed preliminary draft definitions, risk assessment information, tables of existing health-based standards and guidelines, and a scope of work statement. Most of these items will be discussed at a workgroup meeting on March 26 in Chicago. The Air Cleaners Workgroup also has developed draft materials for consideration at a workgroup meeting to be held in mid-April. The Vacuum Cleaners Workgroup is stalled due to a lack of support from some of the major vacuum cleaner manufacturers, who believe that the draft ASTM vacuum cleaner test standard (under development for the past six years, but not yet finalized) will be sufficient.
NSF International, the other consensus standard-setting organization originally interested in developing indoor product standards, has decided instead to sponsor one (or more) Indoor Air Health conferences to bring together the pertinent experts. Their first such conference is planned for spring of.
A third related effort, that of U.S. EPA's Indoor Air Quality Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program, is moving forward rapidly. EPA has contracted with scientists at Research Triangle Institute to carry out the program. The effort is intended initially to provide verification methods for testing office furniture (workstations) and ventilation air filters. Verification methods for other indoor products and materials may be developed in the future if EPA continues to fund the program. The ETV Office Furniture Stakeholders met in February and reviewed comments received by RTI on the first draft test protocol circulated last fall for comment. The Business and Industrial Furniture Manufacturers' Association (BIFMA) is supportive of the effort and hopes to assume the lead over implementation of the verification process once the protocol is finalized. The protocol is being revised and should be used later this year by three different laboratories in an interlaboratory comparison project, after which the protocol will be revised as needed and hopefully adopted as final. The Ventilation Air Filter Stakeholders also met again in February; they are making progress similar to that of the Office Furniture group, and may use their draft protocol later this year in laboratory tests as well.
b. Quality Control Issues for Indoor Air Samplers and Related Products. Peggy noted instances in several research projects sponsored by CARB, U. S. EPA, and others in which indoor air samplers, or parts or devices associated with such samplers, turned out to be faulty and/or did not meet the specifications of the manufacturer. The major problem appears to be a lack of quality control at the manufacturing stage, probably resulting from the lack of standards for such devices and the limited market (lack of competition) for them. The detailed testing and replacement/re-testing required for such products or parts increases research costs, and problems with these products can lead to erroneous results if ignored. Indoor air quality investigators of all types should be aware of potential problems with the devices they use in their research and in problem building investigations.
3. California Department of Education / School Facility Planning Division -- Ellen Aaslatten ()
Ellen Aaslatten hosted a set of Roundtable Discussions at the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) conference on February 25 in Sacramento. The topic was billed as "Clear the Air: Department of Educations Discusses Indoor Air Quality," and it met for three 30-minute sessions. She was joined by Jed Waldman of CDHS IAQ Section in leading the discussions. In contrast to her first IAQ presentation at CASH four years ago, when she noted that the audience was vaguely hostile about the lack of information and conflicting imperatives, discussants this year were cordial and enthusiastic. It also appears that school districts are working hard to meet their obligations. Furthermore, there was a notably high level of expertise and insight about IAQ matters among the audience. It is nice to know our work is having some effect, even without regulations being in place.
4. California Department of Health Service / Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program --- Simone Brumis ()
The Lead Hazards in School Study is nearing completion. The final version is expected to be a volume of 80 pages, plus 17 appendices, as well as a report release plan. The release date has not been set.
5. California Department of Health Service / Environmental Health Investigations Branch --- Sandra McNeel ()
a. Aid to Counties and Public on Indoor Mold. Staff have responded to many requests for information from members of county environmental health departments and private citizens regarding potential health threats of indoor mold. The record rainfall in many parts of California appears to be causing a higher incidence of indoor mold growth around the state. In addition, several TV investigative reports at both the national and local levels have focused attention on mold in homes and have raised alarms about exposure to potentially toxic mold by-products. This office distributes science-based information to both the public and health professionals. We are assisting the DHS Office of Emergency Preparedness in preparation of a packet of materials to be sent to all county health officers. This packet will include information from several sources (EPA, FEMA/Red Cross, NIOSH, etc.) on clean-up procedures after flooding, as well as articles that specifically address prevention and removal of mold contamination in homes.
b. Bayview/Hunter's Point. Our office will be participating in a round table forum on March 24, concerning indoor air quality in schools in Bayview/Hunter's Point, a neighborhood in San Francisco with a high prevalence of childhood asthma. We will give a short presentation on health effects from environmental/indoor air pollutants in schools.
6. California Department of Health Service / Indoor Air Quality Section -- Jed Waldman ()
a. Bioaerosols. At the University of Tulsa's 10th Annual Indoor Air pollution Conference in San Francisco (February 23-25), Janet Macher gave a presentation on the forthcoming American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist (ACGIH) book on bioaerosols (entitled "Assessment and Control of Bioaerosols in the Indoor Environment"). Janet is a member of the ACGIH Bioaerosol committee and is the book's editor. The book addresses various topics related to bioaerosols such as sampling, health effects, investigation strategies, MVOCs, and control/remediation. The tentative release date for this book is May (although the release date may extended). Note of general interest: The ACGIH Air Sampling Instrument Committee is working on a new book for air sampling instruments for IAQ investigations.
b. Mold in Homes. The IAQS staff modified a Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Program info sheet for California residents. It is entitled: Mold in My Home: What Do I Do? Other agencies are welcome to forward it directly to callers requesting information (Attachment B).
c. Radon Studies. Kai-Shen Liu, Joey Zhou and Jed Waldman have been analyzing radon data collected by Dave Quinton in close to 400 California schools. Because the sample studied was not randomly selected, the data were corrected to give a statistically-valid estimate of radon concentrations statewide. The results indicate that approximately 1% of California elementary school classrooms could be expected to be measured to have annual radon concentrations above the EPA action level (4 picoCurie per liter). The estimate is that 4.7% of schools statewide might be expected to have at least one classroom above the action level. The staff are looking at ways that these data can be used by policy makers to approach radon mitigation in California schools. They expect to complete their report soon. Staff also working with LBNL and the U.S. EPA to investigate the feasibility of combining existing radon data from four California studies, in order to establish a statewide mapping for radon.
d. Laboratory Certification. Nitin Kapadia and Bill Wehrmeister have been working to maintain the Environmental Health Laboratory Branch's AIHA Laboratory Proficiency for passive monitoring of VOCs. NIOSH is the entity in charge of this component of AIHA's proficiency testing program. The IAQS is in the process of purchasing a new gas chromatograph (HP 6890) equipped with FID and NPD, to be used for proficiency tests and indoor air monitoring.
e. Assistance Phone Line. The IAQS receives dozens of phone calls each week to its IAQ Assistance Line. The line was set up to provide rapid response to public health professionals on IAQ issues, although the majority of calls we receive have been from members of the public who have been referred to our program. All the phone calls are being logged to a database (Microsoft Access), so that we can perform statistical analyses at a later time. In the wake of the recent storms, most of the phone calls we currently receive are related to home mold problems.
f. ETS Proposal. Leon Alevantis (principal investigator), Kai-Shen Liu, and Jed Waldman submitted a proposal to the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, which is administered by the UC Office of the President This is a collaboration between IAQS and LBNL's Indoor Environment Program. The proposal is entitled "Evaluation of Office ETS Exposure in Relation to AB 13". The proposed work is a continuation of a previous study conducted before AB 13 was enacted. Notification is expected in May or June and, in case of approval, the study will start July 1.
g. School Conference. Leon Alevantis and Jed Waldman attended the 19th Annual Conference of the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH). We were pleasantly surprised to see that IAQ issues were addressed along with other issues such as class size reduction, re-design of existing square footage to meet the class size reduction requirements, deregulation of power utilities, telecommunication and power upgrades, etc. Jed assisted Ellen Aasletten of CDE in a set of roundtable discussions on IAQ in schools. Representatives of districts throughout the state raised a wide range of questions and problems.
h. Green Building Conference. Leon Alevantis attended a conference in Oakland entitled Tools for Building Green: How to Produce Cost-Effective and Environmentally Sound Buildings, presented by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority & Recycling Board. About 200 persons attended. A large number of attendees were building contractors interested in green building issues. Indoor air quality issues were discussed as part of the green building approach.
i. Unvented Gas-Fueled Heater Standards. In the SB798 Implementation program for Development of Standards for Unvented Gas Heaters, an award was made to T. Marshall Associates, Inc. to serve as technical consultant to the CDHS. Gregory Traynor is the lead staff on the contract, and Bud Offerman is a subcontractor. The 18-person Advisory Group, which includes representatives from manufacturers, utilities, state agencies, and outside public health experts, met March 3, to review program progress.
j. IEQ in Schools Conference. Jed Waldman gave an invited presentation at the "Healthy School Environments '98: Tools for Schools" workshop in San Diego in January. The workshop was sponsored by IAQ Publications, and it will be held again in Washington DC (April) and Chicago (May).
k. Staff Retirement. Lurance Webber, who was among the earliest DHS staff to join the IAQ Section when it was first established, is retiring after 20 years with the Department. He promises to maintain a cyber connection and help us with our WWW activities.
7. California Department of Health Service / Occupational Health Branch --- Elizabeth Katz ()
See Attachment C (not on web) for recent Cal/OSHA activities and regulations relating to IAQ. If you have any question, Les can be reached at (415) 972-8580.
9. California Energy Commission - - Obed Odoemelam ()
The California Energy Commission (CEC) is administrating the transition funding for the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, which has been started due to electric utility de-regulation (which will reduce the amount of money available for individual utilities to conduct their own research). Ongoing research will be sponsored in a broad range of areas, including residential thermal distribution systems, high-efficiency lightly, photo-voltaics, NOx formation in turbines and gas burners, and habitat and species protection. The current solicitation for proposals has ~$15 million budget and addresses three (out of five) areas to be funded by the PIER program: Environmentally Preferred Advanced Generation, Renewable Energy, and Energy-related Environmental Research. An RFP for the other two areas, End-use Efficiency and Strategic Energy Research, will be issued shortly and should have a budget near $10 million.
Obed is managing a one-year, $375,000 research project on methods to reduce emissions of cooking-related particles and the building energy associated with commercial kitchen exhaust ventilation systems. The project is being conducted at PG&E's Food Service Technolgoy Center in the Bay Area.
Indoor air is specifically mentioned in the RFP as an environmental effect of concern to the PIER program. Obed has offered to help CIWG-IAQ colleagues to identify research related to IAQ for PIER proposals. More information can be obtained by calling the CEC Contracts Office at (916) 654-4392 and reference RFP #500-97-503 or by visiting the relevant web-site at .
10. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment / Indoor Air Risk Assessment Group -- Richard Lam ()
a. Dr. George Alexeeff of OEHHA's Air Toxicology and Epidemiology Section (ATES) was appointed the Chief Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs of OEHHA. Dr. Melanie Marty is now ATES' acting chief.
b. The OEHHA Green Building Committee (GBC) for the Elihu Harris State Building (EHSB) received from DGS a packet of informational materials on the building materials used or will be used in the EHSB. The GBC has categorized materials into: (I) adhesives/sealants/caulks; (ii) carpet/carpet tiles/underlays; (iii) composite wood products; (iv) spray-on fireproofing; (v) gypsum wallboard/drywall; (vi) interior panels/partition coverings; (vii) paints; and (viii) wall coverings. After reviewing the information supplied, the GBC concluded that additional information from DGS is required to make a reasonable recommendation on the flushout time for the EHSB.
According to DGS documents, the EHSB is scheduled for a three-day bake out at "an elevated temperature on 100% outside air, 100% exhaust,... the elevated temperature shall not exceed that determined to be detrimental to building products and finishes". We hope our involvement in this will help change this bake out requirement in other new DGS buildings.
c. Personal communication with Judith Schreiber of the New York State Department of Health (with Amy Arcus): Dr. Schreiber's group has followed up on prior studies of exposures to tetrachloroethene or perchloroethylene to residents of buildings also housing dry cleaning shops. The follow-up study evaluated air concentrations, and biomarker levels and vision tests of 16 subjects living in such buildings. The vision tests (Hudnell, US EPA) were significantly different for these subjects (including or especially the children) than controls. Results of this study will be published soon; previous articles by this group include : (I) Schreiber J, et al., "An Investigation of Indoor Air Contamination in Residences Above Dry Cleaners," Risk Analysis,13(3): 335-344, and(ii) Schreiber J. "Predicted Infant Exposure to Tetrachloroethene in Human Breastmilk," Risk Analysis, 12(5): 515-524,.
d. OEHHA has completed a Public & Scientific Review Panel Draft of the Health Effects Document for Diesel Exhaust and revised Part C. This was sent to ARB and ARB has made this available at the CARB web site.
11. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / Indoor Environment Program -- Michael Apte ()
a. Experiments have commenced for the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program-funded environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) project at LBNL. This project is designed to focus on the behavior of ETS and its constituents in time and space and its interactions with surface materials. Gas-phase nicotine is often used as a tracer for the presence of ETS, but may not always be a good tracer for the particle phase constituents of ETS. This is because nicotine is differentially adsorbed onto materials. The experimental work in this project will provide basic scientific information on the behavior of nicotine and other tracers relative to the entire mix of gas- and particle-phase ETS constituents. This information will assist in our use of ETS tracers for assessing human exposure to tobacco smoke.
b. We have received the U.S. EPA BASE study data for the years of -96. This dataset contains measurements of indoor environmental data and questionnaire-derived SBS symptom data from 41 office buildings from different states. We are in the process conducting analyses of the associations between indoor VOC concentrations and the symptom data. Eventually, the BASE dataset will include data from 100 buildings from all 50 states
c. We are conducting an analysis of the New Jersey ATEOS particle concentration data and mortality records for the years. The ATEOS data includes detailed information on chemical composition for the particle measurements which may have more power for the prediction of mortality than particle concentration alone.
d. A comment on the opportunity to collect national distributional data on carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. CO is the number one cause of environmental poisoning in the U.S., CO poisoning occurs predominantly in indoor environments, but we have only limited data on the distribution of human CO exposures. If collected, such data could be used to identify high risk groups and CO sources, and provide a framework for CO exposure mitigation. We now have the opportunity to conduct a national CO survey at the least possible cost. This could be done by adding a CO exposure component to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES IV). This survey will be collecting basic health information including blood samples from 5000 randomly selected individuals from all 50 states, each year. By adding a carboxyhemoglobin lab test and passive CO exposure measurements, distributional CO exposure data the goal of collecting distributional CO data would be achieved. Health researchers and scientists or other parties interested in this idea to discuss strategies for designing and seeking funding for this project.
12. LUXOR - T.C. Webber
T.C. provided the group an overview of a number of IAQ issues associated with the practice of dentistry, such as exposures to mercury, generation of bioaerosols. For more information, T.C. can be reached at
13. U.S. EPA Region IX -- Barbara Spark (
Tulsa Meeting. The 10th Annual Conference on Indoor Air Pollution held in San Francisco, February 23-25, was very well received by over 160 registered attendees. Janet Macher, CDHS-IAQS, organized and presented valuable presentations keyed to the upcoming ACGIH Bioaerosols Committee document revision. A range of other important topics was covered. Region 9 had not funded this conference, but in view of the minimal pre-registration by local public health officials, we rushed to find grant funds to permit about 20 tuition scholarships, which went primarily to grateful County Health officials.
Upcoming IAQ Trainings. Our IAQ Training Center grantee, the University of Tulsa, will present five programs between N. and S. California during the week of June 15.
On June 15-16 there will be a two-day version of EPA's "Orientation to Indoor Air Quality" course in Los Angeles, followed on Wednesday the 17th by the Elliot Horner/Richard Shaughnessy workshop on "Sampling for Biological Contamination in Buildings: Methods, Considerations and Implications."
Also on June 17, but in the SF Bay area, will be a new workshop from Joe Lstiburek, "Moisture: The Fix - You Know That You Have a Moisture Problem, How Do You Get Rid of It?" On June 18, Phil Morey/Richard Shaughnessy present "Indoor Air Quality: Biological Remediation and Control." Finally, on June19, members of the restoration industry will present the program, "Floods, Sewage, Molds: The Remediators."
These programs are underwritten by an EPA grant, but due to funding limitations, fees must be charged. A student rate is likely to be offered in addition to the public sector and AIHA discounts. Brochures will be sent to CIWG-IAQ members. Or, you can call University of Tulsa at (918) 631-5246; note: this is a new number for the Training Center.
Healthy Homes. Barbara Spark participated in a two-day "Healthy Homes" workgroup sponsored by RAMP, the Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Initiative, in cooperation with the Alameda County Lead Program. The latter's director, Steve Schwartzberg, is trying to facilitate the development of a pilot for a (minority, low-income) community-based home evaluation and remediation program addressing asthma triggers as well as other home environmental health threats. A number of similar and sometimes overlapping programs are starting up around the country. EPA will assist information-sharing to minimize redundancy and effect optimal use of available funds.
U.S. EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools.
NYC Asthma Conference. We have learned that the New York Academy of Medicine is presenting the conference "Working Together to Combat Urban Asthma" in New York City, May 4 and 5, with sponsorship from EPA, CDC, and a pharmaceuticals company. The program looks very impressive. We will not be able to attend. For information: .
EPA Budget Cuts. U.S. EPA's Indoor Air Program budget has been cut by $1 million. Our regional discretionary budget for IAQ activities in Region 9 has dropped from $40K to $30K in FY98.
Healthy Buildings, Healthy People. There has been some discussion of combining a stakeholders' meeting on EPA's Healthy Buildings, Healthy People project (formerly Human Health Indoors Program), with this Working Group's June meeting. However, it's unclear who would provide administrative coordination, since Barbara Spark will be away from March 30-April 27.
Radon Study Report Released. In February, the BEIR VI report on radon was released by the National Academy of Sciences. It reaffirms EPA's concerns about radon's health threats. Details may be accessed through the EPA HQ IAQ web site by going in through the URL:
WORKING GROUP COMMITTEES
Building Design and Operations -- Leon Alevantis ()
Members in Attendance: Ellen Aaslatten, Leon Alevantis, Marilee Courtright, Audrey Eng, Sally Glines, Peggy Jenkins , Richard Lam, Barbara Spark, and Jed Waldman.
The Building Design and Operation Subcommittee met to discuss issues related to reducing VOCs in new or remodeled office buildings. As a follow up of our previous meeting last December, a letter was mailed to Mike Courtney, Assistant Deputy Director, Real Estate Services Division, Department of General Services. The letter addressed issues related to reducing volatile organic compounds in new state office buildings and inviting his participation at our March meeting. Due to a conflict with Mike Courtney's schedule, he was unable to join us. The committee agreed to the following:
Ellen Aasletten / California Dept. of Education (CDE)
Leon Alevantis / Dept. of Health Services - Indoor Air Quality Section (DHS-IAQS)
Michael Apte / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
Amy Arcus / Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
Rachel Broadwin / OEHHA
Marilee Courtright - Dept. of General Services / Building & Property Management (DGS-BPM)
Audrey Eng - Department of Mental Health
Sally Glines - DGS / Real Estate Services Division (RESD)
Paul Hunting - DHS Tobacco Control Section
Peggy Jenkins / California Air Resources Board (CARB)
Nitin Kapadia / DHS-IAQS
Richard Lam / OEHHA
Kai-Shen Liu / DHS-IAQS
Julia Zhiya Ma / Menlo Park
Janet Macher / DHS-IAQS
Philip Maynard / UCBerkeley - Environmental Health & Safety
Sandy McNeel / DHS - Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB)
Obed Odoemelam / California Energy Commission (CEC)
Tom Phillips / CARB
Shelly Rosenblum - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)
Mike Rothenberg - Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
Jim Sanborn / Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)
Rajinder Sandhu / Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)
Barbara Spark / U.S. EPA Region IX
Greg Traynor / T. Marshal Associates Ltd.
Feng Tsai / UCBerkeley - School of Public Health
Jed M. Waldman / DHS-IAQS
T.C. Webber / LUXOR, Inc.
Joey Zhou / DHS-IAQS
Jed M. Waldman chaired the meeting.
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