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PA EPA ISSUES STRATEGY TO REDUCE MERCURY AND ELEVEN OTHER TOXIC CHEMICALS

Release Date: 11/20/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1998
EPA ISSUES STRATEGY TO REDUCE MERCURY AND ELEVEN
OTHER TOXIC CHEMICALS

EPA has released for public comment a strategy to reduce mercury and other priority chemicals such as dioxin and PCBs. These chemicals, known as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) pollutants, are highly toxic, can remain in the environment for generations and can travel long distances through the air to reach land and water. PBTs are associated with a range of adverse health effects ranging from fetal- and child-developmental problems in the case of mercury to cancer and other effects in the case of other PBTs. PBTs can “bioaccumulate,” or build up, in the food chain. In the case of mercury, for example, 40 states to date have issued fish consumption advisories in a least one body of water. The four main elements of the new strategy are 1) develop and implement national action plans for PBT pollutants that utilize voluntary, regulatory, enforcement and research elements; 2) screen and select more priority PBTs for reduction; 3) prevent new PBTs from entering the marketplace; and 4) quantitatively measure progress of these actions. An EPA draft plan for mercury is among the first initiatives under the new strategy. EPA's action plan to reduce mercury requires coal-fired electric generating plants for the first time to collect data and to inform the public of mercury emissions. To obtain a copy of the strategy, contact the Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (7409), Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460; telephone: 202-260-1023; facsimile number: 202-260-0178; e-mail: PPIC@epa.gov. For further technical information contact: Sam K. Sasnett, EPA Pollution Prevention Division at 202-260-8020, e-mail: sasnett.sam@epa.gov. Action plans for other chemicals listed in the PBT strategy will be developed during 1999.


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