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Overview: Pollutants and Programs

Mobile Source Air Toxics - Health Effects and Risk

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Motor vehicle emissions contribute to ambient levels of air toxics known or suspected as human or animal carcinogens, or that have noncancer health effects. Noncancer health effects can result from exposures to air toxics, and include neurological, cardiovascular, liver, kidney, and respiratory effects as well as effects on the immune and reproductive systems.

  • Air Toxics Website: EPA maintains a valuable online resource center for information regarding toxic air pollutants, health effects, technical reports, assessment data, regulations, and air quality programs.
  • National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) is EPA's ongoing comprehensive evaluation of air toxics in the U.S.
    • EPA developed the NATA as a state-of-the-science screening tool for State/Local/Tribal Agencies to prioritize pollutants, emission sources and locations of interest for further study in order to gain a better understanding of risks. NATA provides estimates of the risk of cancer and other serious health effects from breathing (inhaling) air toxics in order to inform both national and more localized efforts to identify and prioritize air toxics, emission source types and locations which are of greatest potential concern in terms of contributing to population risk.
    • The 2005 NATA includes estimates of cancer and non-cancer health effects based on chronic exposure from outdoor sources, including assessments of non-cancer health effects for Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM).
  • To learn more about the health effects of diesel exhaust, see the following information:
  • The following pages in particular describe the hazards posed by air toxics:

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