Evaluation of the agreement between modeled and monitored ambient hazardous air pollutants in California

Int J Environ Health Res. 2014 Aug;24(4):363-77. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2013.835031. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


Elevated breast cancer incidence rates in urban areas have led to speculation regarding the potential role of air pollution. In order to inform the exposure assessment for a subsequent breast cancer study, we evaluated agreement between modeled and monitored hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Modeled annual ambient concentrations of HAPs in California came from the US Environmental Protection Agency's National Air Toxics Assessment database for 1996, 1999, 2002, and 2005 and corresponding monitored data from the California Air Resources Board's air quality monitoring program. We selected 12 compounds of interest for our study and focused on evaluating agreement between modeled and monitored data, and of temporal trends. Modeled data generally underestimated the monitored data, especially in 1996. For most compounds agreement between modeled and monitored concentrations improved over time. We concluded that 2002 and 2005 modeled data agree best with monitored data and are the most appropriate years for direct use in our subsequent epidemiologic analysis.

Keywords: NATA; agreement; air toxics; exposure; hazardous air pollutants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • California
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Environmental Monitoring* / methods
  • Environmental Monitoring* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Hazardous Substances / chemistry
  • Models, Theoretical*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances