Science Inventory

An Evaluation of EPA's National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA): Comparison with Benzene Measurements in Detroit, Michigan

Citation:

GEORGE, B. J., B. D. SCHULTZ, T. PALMA, A. F. VETTE, D. A. WHITAKER, AND R. W. WILLIAMS. An Evaluation of EPA's National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA): Comparison with Benzene Measurements in Detroit, Michigan. ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 45(19):3301-3308, (2011).

Impact/Purpose:

The National Exposure Research Laboratory′s (NERL) Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division (HEASD) conducts research in support of EPA′s mission to protect human health and the environment. HEASD′s research program supports Goal 1 (Clean Air) and Goal 4 (Healthy People) of EPA′s strategic plan. More specifically, our division conducts research to characterize the movement of pollutants from the source to contact with humans. Our multidisciplinary research program produces Methods, Measurements, and Models to identify relationships between and characterize processes that link source emissions, environmental concentrations, human exposures, and target-tissue dose. The impact of these tools is improved regulatory programs and policies for EPA.

Description:

The U.S. EPA periodically evaluates ambient concentrations, human exposures, and health risks for 180 hazardous air pollutants plus diesel particulate matter using modeled estimates from the National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA). NATA publishes estimates at the spatial resolution of U.S. Census tracts, which are subdivisions of a county. These local scale, model-predicted estimates from NATA are used extensively in community-based assessments; however, evaluation of NATA’s ambient concentrations and human exposure estimates against measurement data has been limited to date. This paper compares modeled annual average benzene results from the 2002 NATA with measured results from the 2004 to 2007 Detroit Exposure and Aerosol Research Study (DEARS) as a case study of the quality of NATA results. NATA model estimates support community-scale characterization and assessment. Benzene is particularly important as it was estimated by the 2002 NATA as the largest single air toxic pollutant in terms of cancer risk in the U.S. We found that the average ambient concentrations of benzene predicted by NATA were within 5 percent, on average, of the 24-h integrated average ambient concentrations measured in DEARS. The NATA human exposure estimates, which include only outdoor sources for benzene, were, on average, approximately half the measured breathing zone concentrations from DEARS. Our analyses support that the factors driving higher DEARS personal benzene concentrations relative to the NATA predicted exposure values are likely due, at least in part, to indoor sources. This work points to further community-scale modeling research to improve characterizations and assessments of human exposures.

URLs/Downloads:

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An Evaluation of EPAs National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment - NATA - Comparison with Benzene Measurements in Detroit, Michigan   (PDF,NA pp, 109 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 05/06/2011
Record Last Revised: 05/09/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 221831

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

HUMAN EXPOSURE AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES DIVISION

EXPOSURE MODELING RESEARCH BRANCH