The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a major air quality program in 1998 referred to as the Particulate Matter (PM) Supersites Program. The overall goal of the program was to improve our understanding of source/receptor relationships and atmospheric processes leading to PM accumulation on urban and regional scales, and thus, provide the scientific underpinning for modeling and data analysis efforts to support the development of State Implementation Plans (SIPs) and more effective risk management approaches for PM. The program had three main objectives: 1) conduct methods development and evaluation, 2) characterize ambient PM, and 3) support health effects and exposure research. The Supersites Program was a multi-year, $27 million air quality program consisting of eight regional air quality projects located throughout the
Significant advances resulted along the lines of the goal and objectives stated above as a direct consequence of the Supersites Program. These advances are described in over 400 peer-reviewed journal publications and likely over 1000 presentations that have resulted from the research conducted since 1999 by Supersites Program investigators. Many of these published papers can be found in two series of special journal issues based on Supersites Program results and a third series where many early results were published (see Table 1 for a listing of Supersites Program-related special issues). Given the depth and breath of findings from the Supersites Program and the desire to ensure effective communication of results to air quality managers, policy makers, the private sector, and the scientific communities EPA embarked on an ambitious plan to communicate results to these groups with the end product being a comprehensive integration and synthesis of findings from the Supersites Program.
The plan consisted of three major components: 1) a specialty conference held in Atlanta, GA, in February, 2005 entitled, “2005 AAAR PM Supersites Program and Related Studies International Specialty Conference”; 2) development of a series of technical papers presented in a special journal issue addressing 16 science/policy relevant questions (see Table 2 for general questions) and 3) an integrated synthesis of findings entitled “Key Scientific and Policy- and Health-Relevant Findings from EPA’s Particulate Matter Supersites Program and Related Studies: An Integration and Synthesis of Results.