CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD
Auditorium First Floor
400 "P" Street
March 12, 1992
92-3-1 Public Hearing to Consider the Adoption of a 001
Regulatory Amendment Identifying Formaldehyde
as a Toxic Air Contaminant.
92-3-2 Public Hearing to Consider the Adoption of 031
Specifications for Alternative Fuels for Motor
92-3-3 Consideration of Research Proposals. 175
*This item is a continued item from the December 12,
1991 Board hearing.
ITEM NO.: 92-3-1
Proposed Identification of Formaldehyde as a Toxic Air
The Air Resources Board (ARB) staff recommends that formaldehyde
be identified as a toxic air contaminant without a cancer
threshold because there is inadequate scientific evidence of an
exposure level below which no significant adverse health effects
In accordance with the provisions of California Health and Safety
Code section 39650 et seq., the ARB staff, after consulting with
staff of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
(OEHHA), selected formaldehyde for the Board's consideration for
listing as a toxic air contaminant. The staff selected
formaldehyde for the following reasons: 1) the International
Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) list formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen, 2)
formaldehyde is used, emitted, and detected in outdoor and indoor
air in California, 3) major sources of outdoor exposure are from
direct emissions from mobile sources and oil refineries and
secondary formation by photochemical reactions, 4) the majority
of formaldehyde indoors is from building materials and consumer
products which emit formaldehyde, 5) formaldehyde is not
naturally removed from the atmosphere at a rate that would
significantly reduce public exposure, and 6) the EPA lists
formaldehyde as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP), and Health and
Safety Code section 39655 requires that HAPs be identified as
toxic air contaminants.
As required by Health and Safety Code section 39661, a report
estimating formaldehyde exposure levels and resultant health
effects in California was jointly prepared by the staffs of the
ARB and OEHHA. The estimated cancer unit risk for continuous
lifetime exposure to 1 ppbv formaldehyde ranges from 1 to 40 per
million. Using OEHHA's best value cancer unit risk factor of 7 x
10-6 per ppbv and the corresponding concentrations from indoor
and outdoor environments, the number of potential excess cancer
cases due to indoor and outdoor exposure to formaldehyde is
estimated to be 230 and 5 per million, respectively. This
corresponds to an estimated potential lifetime risk of up to
7,000 and 150 for indoor and outdoor exposures, respectively, for
a California population of 30 million.
Near source formaldehyde exposures are expected to increase the
potential risk of cancer above the annual average statewide
level. Estimates of outdoor, near source exposures were not
quantified in this report. However, information from the Air
Toxic "Hot Spots" Act (AB 2588) will be used to prioritize and
estimate potential near source exposure in the control phase if
formaldehyde is identified as a toxic air contaminant.
The Scientific Review Panel (SRP), established by Health and
Safety Code section 39670, reviewed the formaldehyde report. The
SRP found the report without serious deficiencies and submitted
its written findings to the Board. In the findings, the Panel
recommended that the Board list formaldehyde by regulation as a
toxic air contaminant, and found that, based on available
scientific information, formaldehyde does not have a threshold
below which carcinogenic effects are not expected to occur.
IMPACTS OF PROPOSED BOARD ACTION
The identification of formaldehyde as a toxic air contaminant
will not, in itself, have any environmental and economic impacts.
However, specific control measures may be developed subsequent to
identification, and an analysis of potential environmental and
economic impacts will be included in the consideration of such
control measures. In addition, local air pollution control
districts have the authority to require that public exposures to
particular toxic substances not exceed levels deemed by the
district to be protective of public health. This has taken the
form of permitting and notification requirements for facilities.
Information used in the identification of formaldehyde as a toxic
air contaminant may be used by districts in implementing these
ITEM NO.: 92-3-2
Public Hearing to Consider Proposed Specifications for
Alternative Fuels for Motor Vehicles.
The staff recommends that the Air Resources Board (ARB or Board)
approve the proposed commercial specifications for alternative
fuels for motor vehicles. Staff also recommends that the Board
approve the amendments to the certification test procedures for
light-duty and medium-duty vehicles, heavy-duty diesel vehicles,
and heavy-duty otto-cycle vehicles which modify certification
fuel specifications for alternative fuels for motor vehicles.
Existing regulations of the Board establish standards for various
properties of gasoline and diesel fuel intended for use in motor
vehicles. There are currently no ARB standards for other fuels
that may be used a s motor vehicle fuels. Existing regulations
of the Board also establish test procedures which are used in
certifying motor vehicles that meet the Board's motor vehicle
emission standards. These test procedures contain specifications
for the following fuels for certification testing: gasoline,
diesel fuel, methanol, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas.
Following a hearing in September 1990, the Board adopted
regulations requiring the phase-in of low-emission vehicles
beginning in 1994. It is anticipated that some of these vehicles
will be designed to operate on alternative fuels. The rulemaking
included the adoption of regulations requiring that alternative
fuels needed by these vehicles be made available to motorists.
Commercial specifications for alternative fuels are required in
order to ensure that motorists driving vehicles designed to
operate on alternative fuels have alternative fuels available
that are of consistent quality and result in the expected
SUMMARY AND IMPACTS
The staff is proposing regulations which would establish
commercial specifications for certain alternative fuels sold or
supplied for use in motor vehicles, applicable starting January
1, 1993. The commercial specifications would cover the following
fuels: M-100 fuel methanol, M-85 fuel methanol, E-100 fuel
ethanol, E-85 fuel ethanol, compressed and liquefied natural gas,
liquefied petroleum gas, and hydrogen.
The staff also proposes amendments which would revise the
alternative fuel certification specifications currently
established for motor vehicle emission certification testing.
These specifications cover M-100 fuel methanol, M-85 fuel
methanol, compressed and liquefied natural gas, and liquefied
petroleum gas. The revised specifications would apply starting
with the 1994 model year, with an option for 1993 model year to
use the revised specifications. Certification fuel
specifications are not being proposed at this time for E-100 fuel
ethanol, E-85 fuel ethanol and hydrogen, because the ARB does not
currently have emission test procedures for these fuels. The
certification fuel specifications are normally included in the
emission test procedure documents.
All of the specifications would include standards designed to
ensure that the fuel is free of contaminants and suitable for use
as a motor vehicle fuel. The proposed regulations would prohibit
the sale, offer for sale or supply of an alternative fuel
intended for use in motor vehicles in California unless it
conforms with the applicable commercial specifications.
The ARB staff believes that the proposed regulations set
specifications for fuels that ensure the expected emission
benefits from the use of alternative fuels, that are commercially
feasible to produce, and that meet the requirements of motor
vehicle manufacturers for consistent, high quality fuel.