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Environmental Health Laboratory Branch (EHLB)

About the Environmental Health Laboratory

Mission

The mission of the Environmental Health Laboratory Branch (EHLB)  is to provide public health leadership in development of laboratory methods, information, and guidance for the assessment and prevention of indoor and outdoor air pollution, and human exposures to toxic chemicals.

Laboratory Accreditation, Certification, and Ethics

EHLB has earned distinguished recognition and Accreditation (PDF)   by the American Industrial Hygiene Association for more than twenty-five years. EHLB is accredited in Industrial Hygiene testing and as a USEPA National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP) testing laboratory. EHLB holds a Certificate of Compliance (PDF)  under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments for performing clinical tests to diagnose environmental diseases such as lead poisoning and exposures to other toxins in the environment.  EHLB research and testing activities comply with the Ethical Principles (PDF)  that guide the Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control.

Laboratory Organization

The laboratory is managed by Dr. Jeff Wagner, EHLB Chief, and contains the following two Sections: 

Biochemistry (BCS).  Dr. Jianwen She, Section Chief                

This program provides environmental and clinical analytical services, and leadership in the development of laboratory methods. It is a partner in the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program, and it provides technical assistance and advice to the California Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch. It also serves as a reference laboratory for public health agencies and as a referee laboratory for determining levels of analytes in reference and proficiency materials for biological testing.  The Section maintains a list of laboratories proficient in blood lead analysis (for reimbursement by the California Child Health and Disability Program) and a list of laboratories approved to perform cholinesterase testing  for occupational health surveillance.

Air Quality Section (AQS).  Dr. Kazukiyo Kumagai, Section Chief                

This program was created on June 16, 2021 to combine the previous Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Outdoor Air Quality (OAQ) programs.  

The IAQ program was created in 1983 and was the first state IAQ program in the nation. Assembly Bill 3200 (Tanner, 1982) established the program's statutory mandate to safeguard the public interest through a coordinated and coherent effort to protect and enhance indoor environmental quality in California residences, public buildings, and offices.  The program's mission is to conduct studies related to the causes and control of indoor air pollution in California. See California Health and Safety Code (105400 - 105430)The program coordinates IAQ activities among key governmental agencies, academic institutions, and industry stakeholders through the California Interagency Working Group on IAQ. The program provides technical guidance, on behalf of CDPH, on proposed legislation, regulations, and professional standards, as well as information to city and county health agencies and the public.

The former Outdoor Air Quality (OAQ) Section has its roots in the 1950s-era State Department of Public Health (DPH) Bureau of Air Sanitation (BAS).  When the Air Resources Board (ARB) was established in 1967, it acquired parts of the BAS. The remainder of the BAS that stayed with DPH later changed into the Air & Industrial Hygiene Laboratory, was differentiated into IAQ and OAQ sections in 1982, and finally changed its name to the Environmental Health Laboratory (EHL) in 1992. The program's OAQ responsibilities were specified by State mandates from 1975-1999 which still govern its activities today. California Health and Safety Code §42539660§100250, and 100335 and CA Labor Code §60.9 require EHL to conduct laboratory work to support other State regulatory agencies and health investigations, including applied research to identify emerging toxic air pollutants for ARB, and laboratory services for CalOSHA.  More broadly, these activities consist of innovative measurements and environmental exposure assessments to assist local, state, and federal stakeholders, including source identification of potential toxics, chemical unknowns, and airborne particulate matter including wildfire smoke.

 

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