Introduction to the Air Resources Board
This page last reviewed December 30, 2015
California's Clean Air Agency
California's Legislature established the Air Resources Board (ARB) in 1967 to:
- Attain and maintain healthy air quality.
- Conduct research into the causes of and solutions to
attack the serious problems caused by motor vehicles, which are a
major cause of air pollution in the State.
Since its formation (see a history of ARB), the ARB has worked with the public, the business sector, and local governments to protect the public's health, the economy and the state's ecological resources through the most cost-effective reduction of air pollution.
Printer Friendly: English(pdf) brochure.
The Governing Board
The Air Resources Board's twelve members are appointed by the Governor. Five are experts in fields such as medicine, chemistry, physics, meteorology, engineering, business and law. Six others are elected officials who represent regional air pollution control agencies - one each from Los Angeles region, San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley. One represents the other districts. The Chairman is the only full-time member.
Under the direction of the executive officer, a dedicated staff of scientists, engineers, and other professionals conducts the daily work of the ARB. With headquarters in Sacramento, the ARB also operates a motor vehicle testing and analysis laboratory in El Monte.
The Air Is Cleaner
California's air pollution control program is
one of the most effective in the
world. Coordinated state, regional, and local efforts have steadily
improved our air quality. As a result, the air is the cleanest in years.
For example, in the Los Angeles area - the most seriously polluted region in the nation - the highest levels of pollution have dropped by 25 percent since 1980. Annual exposure to smog has decreased by 50 percent.
But Pollution is Still a Problem
Despite these improvements,
California continues to face the nation's greatest
air quality challenge. The state's sunny climate, pollution-trapping
mountains and valleys, along with the activities of
32 million Californians all contribute to the problem.
If you live here, you've experienced it first hand. Every year more than 90 percent of all Californians breathe unhealthy, polluted air. This harms our health and the economy.
Air Pollution Harms Our Health
Health problems linked to air pollution range from eye irritation, sore throats, and coughing to lung damage, cancer, and premature death.Those with heart or lung disease or problems such as asthma can be severely impaired. Healthy children and adults who play or exercise vigorously are also at risk. See Film Clip .
And the Economy
Every year, Californians lose billions of dollars due to air pollution. The cost of health-related problems, plus damage to crops, forests, and wild vegetation, all add up to a big drain on California's economy. Air pollution is something we can't afford.
What the ARB Does
Programs for cleaner air range from research and regulation to enforcement and education. The ARB:
- Sets and enforces
emission standards for
motor vehicles ,
fuels and consumer products
- Sets health-based
air quality standards.
- Conducts research
- Monitors air quality.
- Identifies and sets control measures for
toxic air contaminants.
- Provides compliance assistance for businesses.
- Produces education
and outreach programs and materials.
- Oversees and assists local
districts which regulate most non-vehicular
sources of air pollution.
Solutions for Cleaner Air
California has reduced air pollution through:
- Car and truck emission standards that dramatically reduce
Today's new cars pollute about 90 percent less than
cars in the early 1970's.
zero-emission vehicle program that spurs the production of
cars and trucks with
no direct air pollution emissions.
- Cleaner-burning fuels that cut pollution from all
diesel vehicles and
equipment. Cleaner-burning gasoline, required statewide by
June 1996, cuts smog-forming pollution by 15 percent
and cancer risk from gasoline by 30 percent.
products regulations that
reduce smog-forming emissions by about 60 tons
a day by 1999. In 1995, consumer products
produced 250 tons of air pollution a day.
- Air toxics
measures that apply to over 7000 businesses and to all
motor vehicles. Risk from cancer or birth defects is reduced
through prevention and control methods that
are up to 100 percent effective for
the most significant air toxics.
and literature that
help businesses understand and comply with air pollution rules.
programs that increase the
environmental awareness of businesses and the general public.
The air is cleaner, but not clean enough. The ARB adopted its 2007 State Implementation Plan, a detailed plan to clean up air pollution region by region in the next decade. In addition, the ARB is now a lead state agency in California's effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
Even then, cleaning up the air will take more than government regulations. It will hinge on how companies conduct their business and how individuals live their lives. Everyone doing their part is our best chance for clean, healthful air for all Californians.