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PR SEVEN ACTIONS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH BY REDUCING TOX.AIR

Release Date: 11/23/94
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PR SEVEN ACTIONS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH BY REDUCING TOX.AIR

FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1994

EPA ANNOUNCES SEVEN ACTIONS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH BY REDUCING TOXIC AIR POLLUTANTS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a series of final and proposed rules intended to protect public health by dramatically reducing emissions of seven toxic air pollutants, while providing the affected industries with common sense options for complying with the new rules. Many of the compliance options were developed in cooperation with the affected industries.

The most dramatic public health protection for communities will be achieved by the rule that will reduce air emissions of chromium -- a highly toxic air pollutant suspected of causing lung cancer -- by nearly 99 percent, or 173 tons per year.

"By acting to reduce seven types of very toxic air emissions at once, and ensuring that the affected industries have ways to comply with these new reduction standards, today's action demonstrates the Clinton Administration's commitment to developing regulations that protect public health in a cost-effective, common sense way," said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner.

She cited the cooperation of the affected industries -- including shipbuilding, magnetic tape manufacturing, wood furniture manufacturing, gasoline distributors, commercial sterilization operations, and chromium electroplating and anodizing operations -- in developing the sensible options that will help those industries meet the new public health standards.

Among the rules announced today is a final rule to protect public health by reducing chromium air emissions from chromium electroplating and anodizing operations by about 99 percent. The four other final and two proposed rules will further protect public health by significantly reducing emissions of other harmful toxic air pollutants, such as ethylene oxide, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene.

An air toxic called ethylene oxide, a probable human carcinogen known to cause birth defects, will be cut 1000 tons annually, or 94 percent, under another final rule controlling commercial sterilization operations, such as those for medical equipment.

Another final rule will reduce 2,300 tons of air toxics and VOCs yearly, or 51 percent, from the magnetic tape manufacturing industry, which makes audio and video cassettes, and computer diskettes.

Air toxic emissions from gasoline distribution facilities will be decreased nationwide by 2,300 tons annually under an additional final rule. Smog-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will also be reduced by 38,000 tons annually. The final rule, offering mostly pollution prevention compliance options, will result in energy savings of 10 million gallons of gasoline per year. This rule will not affect local gas stations.

One proposed rule would reduce air toxics emissions from shipbuilding and ship repair facilities nationwide by approximately 300 tons annually, or 30 percent. Air toxics are released during ship painting and coating operations.

Another proposal, for the wood furniture manufacturing industry, would reduce air toxics by 33,000 tons annually, or 59 percent. The proposal, based solely on pollution prevention options instead of end-of-pipe controls, was developed largely through regulatory negotiations with representatives from industry, environmental groups and state agencies.

EPA will require all facilities covered by these rules to use maximum achievable control technology, a term generally defined by the Clean Air Act as the best demonstrated pollution control technology or practice in current use by similar sources anywhere in the United States.

EPA estimates the annualized cost of complying with the rule at $22 million, with a one-time capital cost of $45 million.

All final and proposed rules will appear soon in the Federal Register, but are now computer-accessible through EPA's Electronic Bulletin Board at 919-541-5742 (backup number for access problems is 919-541-5384).

(For further technical information about the rules, contact Lalit Banker (Chromium Electroplating) at 919-541-5420; Stephen Shedd (Gasoline Distribution) 919-541-5397; David Markwordt (Commercial Sterilization) 919- 541-0837; Gail Lacy (Magnetic Tape) 919-541-5261; Madeleine Strum (Wood Furniture) 919-541-2383; Mohamed Serageldin (Shipbuilding) 919-541-2379; and Paul Almodovar (Halogenated Solvents) 919-541-0283.)

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