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EPA announces grants for UCSD, other schools, for air pollutant projects

Posted at 3:13 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 18:13:20-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that a trio of research grants have been awarded to University of California campuses for air pollution reduction research, including a nearly $400,000 grant to UC San Diego.

The grant is among seven issued to higher learning institutions across the country to fund projects aimed at addressing air pollutants.

UCSD's $399,464 grant will support a project "to improve online detection and quantification of several under-studied toxic plastic additives of emerging concern in atmospheric particles in a coastal marine environment," according to an EPA statement.

UCSD Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jonathan H. Slade said, "Plastic waste represents one of the greatest environmental threats to our planet; however, very limited quantitative information is available to constrain their impact in different environments. This project will employ a novel approach to quantitatively measure in-situ toxic additives found in plastics and personal care products in aerosol at the beach. The results from this study will help constrain the sources and factors affecting their emission in air at the coast in San Diego, so we can better understand potential health risks."

Other grants were awarded to UC Davis, which will develop and test an instrument "for near real-time speciation and quantification of volatile organic compounds, including hazardous air pollutants," and UCLA, which will develop "an open-source reference instrument and methodology for the operation, validation, and quality assurance and quality control of optical remote sensing monitoring of several air toxics."

EPA's grants, /announced on Thursday, include nearly $2 million to the three UC schools and more than $4.7 million total for all seven institutions.

"Though EPA has made progress on improving air quality, we are committed to further reducing contaminants in air, especially in our underserved communities here in the Pacific Southwest," said Martha Guzman, EPA Regional Administrator for America's Pacific Southwest. "We are therefore proud to support this crucial research being undertaken by California universities. EPA's grants will help create improved tools for monitoring and ultimately reducing emissions."