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To assess the impact of past, current and proposed air quality regulations on coarse particulate matter (CPM), the concentrations of CPM mass and its chemical constituents were examined in the Los Angeles Basin from 1986 to 2009 using PM data acquired from peer-reviewed journals and regulatory agency database. PM10 mass levels decreased by approximately half from 1988 to 2009 at the three sampling sites examined- located in downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside. Annual CPM mass concentrations were calculated from the difference between daily PM10 and PM2.5 from 1999 to 2009. High CPM episodes driven by high wind speed/stagnant condition caused year-to-year fluctuations in the 99th/98th percentile CPM levels. The reductions of average CPM levels were lower than those of PM10 in the same period, therefore the decrease of PM10 level was mainly driven by reductions in the emission levels of PM2.5 (or fine) particles, as demonstrated by the higher annual reduction of average PM2.5 (0.92 microg/m3) compared with CPM (0.39 microg/m3) from 1999 to 2009 in downtown Los Angeles despite their comparable concentrations. This is further confirmed by the significant decrease of Ni, Cr, V and EC in the coarse fraction after 1995. On the other hand, the levels of several inorganic ions (sulfate, chloride and to a lesser extent nitrate) remained comparable. From 1995 to 2008, levels of Cu, a tracer of brake wear, either remained similar or decreased at a smaller rate compared with elements of combustion origins. This differential reduction of CPM components suggests that past and current regulations may have been more effective in reducing fugitive dust (Al, Fe and Si) and combustion emissions (Ni, Cr, V, and EC) rather than CPM from vehicular abrasion (Cu) and inorganic ions (NO3(-), SO4(2-) and Cl(-)) in urban areas. Implications: Limited information is currently available to provide the scientific basis for understanding the sources and physical and chemical variations of CPM, and their relations to air quality regulations and adverse health effects. This study investigates the historical trends of CPM mass and its chemical components in the Los Angeles Basin to advance our understanding on the impact of past and current air quality regulations on the coarse fraction of PM. The results of this study will aid policy makers to design more targeted regulations to control CPM sources to ensure substantial protection of public health from CPM exposure. Supplemental Materials: Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association for (1) details of the sampling sites and (2) the daily concentrations of high CPM/PM10 episodes.


Kalam Cheung, Martin M Shafer, James J Schauer, Constantinos Sioutas. Historical trends in the mass and chemical species concentrations of coarse particulate matter in the Los Angeles Basin and relation to sources and air quality regulations. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995). 2012 May;62(5):541-56

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PMID: 22696804

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