Date of Award

Fall 2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science - (Ph.D.)

Department

Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Zeyuan Qiu

Second Advisor

Joseph W. Bozzelli

Third Advisor

S. Mitra

Fourth Advisor

Edward V. Sargent

Fifth Advisor

Joan G. Tell

Sixth Advisor

Daniel Watts

Abstract

Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) are those pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer, serious health effects, or adverse environmental effects. People exposed to HAPs at sufficient concentrations and durations may have an increased risk of getting cancer or experiencing other health effects. The 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act (CAAA) directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to use technology-based air pollution control measures to significantly reduce emissions of HAPs from major sources of air pollution, followed by a risk-based assessment to address any remaining or residual health risks.

This study retrospectively assessed the public health risk posed by 17 major source facilities, located in three counties in New Jersey, in 1990, the year the Clean Air Act was last amended. Air dispersion modeling, based on the physical characteristics and mass emission rates of the source facilities, was used to quantitatively and spatially estimate the community's exposure to RAPs. The estimated exposures were then used to evaluate the public health risk posed by source facilities individually and collectively. The risk results were used to assess what, if any, air pollution controls would be required for the source facilities by Title III of the CAAA. The economic benefits and costs of these pollution controls were also estimated.

The results suggest that the public health impact of the emissions was limited to the receptors in close proximity to the source facilities. No cumulative impacts were found in nearby residential neighborhoods even when source facilities were clustered together. The morbidity risks from non-carcinogenic pollutants were all below acceptable thresholds. The mortality risks from carcinogenic pollutants were all within the USEPA acceptable risk range. No source facility posed a cancer risk to the community greater than 1 in one hundred thousand, and only three source facilities presented a cancer risk greater than 1 in one million. The results suggest that the addition of technology-based air pollution controls results in relatively small reductions in community health risk and that the residual risk, after the additional controls, is minimal.

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