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Environmental justice advocates have long been concerned about the health impact of elevated air pollution levels found in disadvantaged communities across the country. Sustained public pressure on this issue has motivated regulators to initiate a variety of programs to better characterize the combined or “cumulative” air pollution exposure in localities with multiple pollution sources. In the last decade, local and state agencies have completed a number of relevant San Francisco Bay Area studies and the results are now being used to develop new pollution control policies. The goal of the present paper is to review this air quality research and the policies that have been proposed to deal with cumulative air pollution in the Bay Area.


A Gray Paper submitted to CUEL - the Center on Urban Environmental Law. Also available online at