[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 232 (Wednesday, December 3, 2014)]
[Pages 71764-71766]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28278]



[FRL-9920-00-ORD; Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2014-0859]

Notice of Workshop and Call for Information on Integrated Science 
Assessment for Particulate Matter

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Workshop; Call for Information.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of 
Research and Development's National Center for Environmental Assessment 
(NCEA) is preparing an Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) as part of 
the review of the primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality 
Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM). This ISA is intended to 
update the scientific assessment presented in the Integrated Science 
Assessment for Particulate Matter (EPA 600/R-08/139F), published in 
December 2009. Interested parties are invited to assist EPA in 
developing and refining the scientific information base for the review 
of the PM NAAQS by submitting research studies that have been 
published, accepted for publication, or presented at a public 
scientific meeting.
    EPA is also announcing that a workshop, entitled ``Workshop to 
Discuss Policy-Relevant Science to Inform EPA's Review of the Primary 
and Secondary NAAQS for PM,'' is being organized by NCEA and EPA Office 
of Air and Radiation's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards 
(OAQPS). The workshop will be held February 9-February 11, 2015, in 
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The workshop will be open to 
attendance by interested public observers on a first-come, first-served 
basis up to the limits of available space.

DATES: The workshop will be held on February 9-11, 2015. All 
communications and information submitted in response to the call for 
information should be received by EPA by February 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: The workshop will be held at U.S. EPA, 109 T.W. Alexander 
Drive, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. An EPA contractor, ICF 
International, is providing logistical support for the workshop. To 
register, please visit the Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/pmworkshop2015/. Interested parties can participate in person or via 
webinar. The pre-registration deadline is February 4, 2015. Please 
direct questions regarding workshop registration or logistics to 
Whitney Kihlstrom at (919) 293-1646, or whitney.kihlstrom@icfi.com. For 
specific questions regarding technical aspects of the workshop see the 
section of this notice entitled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Information in response to the call for information may be 
submitted electronically, by mail, by facsimile, or by hand delivery/
courier. Please follow the detailed instructions as provided in the 
section of this notice entitled SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For details on the period for 
submission of research information from the public, contact the Office 
of Research and Development (ORD) Docket at EPA's Headquarters Docket 
Center; telephone: 202-566-1752; facsimile: 202-566-9744; or email: 
Docket_ORD@epa.gov. For technical information, contact Mr. Jason Sacks, 
NCEA; telephone: (919) 541-9729; facsimile: (919) 541-1818; or email: 
sacks.jason@epa.gov or Dr. Scott Jenkins, OAQPS; telephone: (919) 541-
1167; facsimile: (919) 541-0237; or email: jenkins.scott@epa.gov.

[[Page 71765]]


I. Information About the Project

    Section 108(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) directs the Administrator 
to identify and to list certain air pollutants and then to issue ``air 
quality criteria'' for those pollutants. These air quality criteria are 
to ``accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge useful in 
indicating the kind and extent of all identifiable effects on public 
health or welfare which may be expected from the presence of such 
pollutant in the ambient air . . .'' Under section 109 of the CAA, EPA 
is then to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for 
each pollutant for which EPA has issued criteria. Section 109(d) of the 
CAA subsequently requires periodic review and, if appropriate, revision 
of existing air quality criteria to reflect advances in scientific 
knowledge on the effects of the pollutant on public health and welfare. 
EPA is also to revise the NAAQS, if appropriate, based on the revised 
air quality criteria.
    Particulate matter (PM) is one of six ``criteria'' pollutants for 
which EPA has established NAAQS. Periodically, EPA reviews the 
scientific basis for these standards by preparing an Integrated Science 
Assessment (ISA), formerly called an Air Quality Criteria Document 
(AQCD). The evidence and conclusions presented in the ISA directly 
inform the technical and policy assessments conducted by OAQPS. 
Collectively, these documents form the scientific and technical bases 
for EPA's decisions on the adequacy of existing NAAQS and the 
appropriateness of new or revised standards.
    At the start of a NAAQS review, EPA issues an announcement of the 
review and notes the initiation of the development of the ISA. At that 
time, EPA also issues a request that the public submit scientific 
literature that they want to bring to the attention of the Agency for 
consideration in the review process. The Clean Air Scientific Advisory 
Committee (CASAC), an independent scientific advisory committee 
mandated by section 109(d)(2) of the Clean Air Act and part of EPA's 
Science Advisory Board (SAB), is charged with independent expert 
scientific review of EPA's draft ISAs and other technical and policy 
assessments. As the process proceeds, the public will have 
opportunities to review and comment on draft PM ISAs and other 
technical and policy assessments. These opportunities will also be 
announced in the Federal Register.
    For the review of the PM NAAQS being initiated by this notice, the 
Agency is interested in obtaining additional new information, 
particularly concerning: (a) Toxicological studies of effects of 
controlled exposure to PM on laboratory animals and humans; (b) 
epidemiologic (observational) studies of health effects associated with 
ambient exposures of human populations to PM; (c) the quantification of 
light extinction in urban and non-urban areas--for example, new studies 
regarding visibility preferences, including studies in additional urban 
and non-urban areas that disentangle visibility preferences from health 
preferences, the sensitivity of visibility preferences to survey 
methods and/or preferences regarding intensity versus frequency of 
visibility impairment; (d) climate impacts from PM-related aerosols, 
particularly regarding the quantification of anthropogenic aerosol 
effects on radiative forcing; and (e) ecological studies that examine 
the effects on agricultural crops and natural terrestrial and/or 
aquatic ecosystems from ambient exposures to PM, including information 
regarding interactions with other ecosystem stressors and co-occurring 
pollutants. EPA also seeks recent information in other areas of PM 
research such as chemistry and physics, sources and emissions, 
analytical methodology, transport and transformation in the 
environment, and ambient concentrations. This and other selected 
literature relevant to a review of the NAAQS for PM will be assessed in 
the forthcoming PM ISA. It is important to note that for the evaluation 
of PM and ecological effects, this does not include studies that 
examine effects due to the deposition of oxides of nitrogen 
(NOX) or sulfur oxides (SOX) in the particulate 
form (e.g., ammonium sulfate), which will be covered in the ongoing 
review of the NOX/SOX secondary standard. Other 
opportunities for submission of new peer-reviewed, published (or in-
press) papers will be possible as part of public comment on the draft 
ISAs that will be reviewed by CASAC.
    As part of this review of the PM NAAQS, EPA intends to sponsor a 
workshop on February 9-February 11, 2015 to provide the opportunity for 
internal and external experts to highlight significant new and emerging 
PM research, and to make recommendations to the Agency regarding the 
design and scope of the review for the primary (health-based) and 
secondary (welfare-based) PM standards to ensure that it addresses key 
policy-relevant issues and considers the new and emerging science that 
is relevant to informing EPA's understanding of these issues. EPA 
intends that workshop discussions will build upon three prior 
publications (available at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/s_pm_index.html):
    1. National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter: 
Final Rule (78 FR 2086, January 15, 2013). The preamble to the final 
rule included detailed discussions of policy-relevant issues central to 
the last review.
    2. Integrated Science Assessment for PM--Final Report. (EPA/600/R-
08/139F, December 2009). The ISA is a comprehensive review, synthesis, 
and evaluation of the most policy-relevant science, including key 
science judgments that are important to inform the development of the 
risk and exposure assessments, as well as other aspects of the NAAQS 
review. The 2009 PM ISA, completed by EPA's NCEA, included 
consideration of studies published through mid-2009.
    3. Provisional Assessment of Recent Studies on Health Effects of 
Particulate Matter Exposure (EPA/600/R-12/056F, December 2012). This 
assessment, which was completed by EPA's NCEA, evaluated studies 
published too late for inclusion in the final PM ISA. The provisional 
science assessment focused on epidemiologic studies that used 
PM2.5 (i.e., fine PM) or PM10-2.5 (i.e., coarse 
PM) and were conducted in the U.S. or Canada, and toxicological or 
epidemiologic studies that compared effects of PM from different 
sources, PM components, or size fractions published through August 
2012. The document was not intended to critically review individual 
studies or integrate the scientific findings to draw causal conclusions 
as is done for an ISA, but rather to ensure that the Administrator was 
fully aware of the ``new'' science that had developed since 2009 before 
making final decisions on whether to retain or revise the then-existing 
PM standards.
    Workshop participants are encouraged to review these documents 
thoroughly before the meeting, as they provide important background 
information on the scientific findings and analytical approaches 
considered in the previous review, as well as insights into the key 
policy-relevant questions from that review. In addition, participants 
may also want to review related documents (available at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/s_pm_index.html), including the 
Policy Assessment for the Review of the Particulate Matter National 
Ambient Air Quality Standards (Final Report, April 2011), Quantitative 
Health Risk Assessment for Particulate Matter (Final Report, June 
2010), and Particulate Matter Urban-Focused Visibility

[[Page 71766]]

Assessment (Final Document, July 2010).
    Based in large part on the input received during this workshop, EPA 
will develop a draft Integrated Review Plan (IRP) for the PM NAAQS. 
This draft IRP will outline the schedule, process, and approaches for 
evaluating the relevant scientific information and addressing the key 
policy-relevant issues to be considered in this review. CASAC will be 
asked to review the draft IRP in the mid-2015 and the public will also 
have the opportunity to comment on the draft plan. The final IRP, 
prepared in consideration of CASAC and public comments, will outline 
the process and schedule for conducting the review and the planned 
scope of the assessment documents (e.g., an ISA, a risk/exposure 
assessment, and a policy assessment) as well as the key policy-relevant 
issues/questions that will guide the review.

II. How To Submit Technical Comments to the Docket at 

    Submit your materials identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2014-
0859 by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Email: Docket_ORD@epa.gov.
     Fax: 202-566-9744.
     Mail: Office of Research and Development (ORD) Docket 
(Mail Code: 28221T), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. The phone number is 202-
     Hand Delivery: The ORD Docket is located in EPA's 
Headquarters Docket Center, Room 3334 EPA West Building, 1301 
Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. EPA's Docket Center Public 
Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, excluding Federal holidays. The telephone number for the Public 
Reading Room is 202-566-1744. Such deliveries are only accepted during 
the docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should 
be made for deliveries of boxed information. If you provide materials 
by mail or hand delivery, please submit three copies of these 
materials. For attachments, provide an index, number pages 
consecutively with the materials, and submit an unbound original and 
three copies.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-
2014-0859. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the 
specified comment period. Comments received after the closing date will 
be marked ``late,'' and may only be considered if time permits. It is 
EPA's policy to include all materials it receives in the public docket 
without change and to make the materials available online at 
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, 
unless materials includes information claimed to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to 
be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The 
www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' system, which 
means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you 
provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email directly 
to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address 
will be automatically captured and included as part of the materials 
that are placed in the public docket and made available on the 
Internet. If you submit electronic materials, EPA recommends that you 
include your name and other contact information in the body of your 
materials and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read 
your materials due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for 
clarification, EPA may not be able to consider the materials you 
submit. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, 
any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For 
additional information about EPA's public docket visit EPA's Docket 
Center homepage at www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
    Docket: Documents in the docket are listed in the 
www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other materials, 
such as copyrighted material, are publicly available only in hard copy. 
Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically 
in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the ORD Docket in EPA's 
Headquarters Docket Center.

    Dated: November 24, 2014.
Gina Perovich,
Acting Deputy Director, National Center for Environmental Assessment.
[FR Doc. 2014-28278 Filed 12-2-14; 8:45 am]