CHA News Article

Proposed Air Toxics Risk Assessment Methodology Could Affect Hospitals

CHA has been participating in meetings with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), local air management districts and other businesses regarding guidance OEHHA issued on  March 6 — the revised Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Guidance Manual for Preparation of Health Risk Assessments. The guidance includes changes to air toxics risk assessment methodology that will increase facility risk estimates by 150-300 percent or more compared to the prior methodology, without any increases in actual facility emissions. The guidance would also require a number of hospitals and other businesses to provide written risk notification to their neighbors even though the hospital may have significantly reduced its diesel particulate matter (dpm) emissions. CHA is concerned that the OEHHA guidance lacks direction and information on how air districts should communicate expected increases in the facility risk estimates to the public.

In its comments, CHA recommended that any required risk notification should be a joint notification between the hospital and the air quality management district. CHA has also joined a Cal Chamber coalition of businesses raising concerns and questioning the legality of OEHHA changing its risk assessment criteria when California businesses, including hospitals, have reduced their dpm emissions by approximately 80 percent over the past 20 years. A copy of the coalition letter expressing concerns and recommendations is attached. CHA will continue to keep hospitals informed on this issue.