Lead and Copper Rule: Expert Panel Workshop on Public Education and Risk Communication
EPA is convening an expert panel workshop on
Sept. 14-15, 2004, in Philadelphia to discuss issues associated with the
Copper Rule. The workshop
will discuss the public education requirements under the Lead and
Copper Rule and
how to effectively communicate risk to customers in a variety of situations.
This workshop is one in a series of expert workshops that EPA is holding
to provide a venue for idea exchange on the opportunities and challenges
the Lead and Copper Rule. To register, call Liana Pike at 703-247-6173, or
register by email at Registration@EPAPEWorkshop.com.
HARC Joins Chicago Climate Exchange Effort to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
The Houston Advanced Research Center
(HARC) has become the first non-profit research organization in the greater
Houston area, and second in the nation, to join the innovative market for carbon
emissions management known as the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). Based in
The Woodlands, Texas, HARC is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing
technologies and policies to improve people's lives and protect the environment.
Founded in 2003, the Chicago Climate Exchange is an independent exchange that
administers the world's first multi-national and multi-sector marketplace
for reducing and trading greenhouse gas emissions. CCX represents the first
voluntary, legally-binding commitment by a cross section of North American
corporations, municipalities and other institutions to establish a rules-based
market for reducing greenhouse gases. With members such as IBM, Ford Motor
Company, Dupont, Motorola, the City of Chicago, and the World Resources Institute,
the CCX provides an ideal structure for advancing market-based solutions
to the increasingly important issue of global climate change. To date the
exchange has traded more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
HARC joins more than 50 organizations in the North America in this initiative.
"HARC is exploring ways to positively address carbon management issues," said
Todd Mitchell, HARC's President, "so it makes sense for us to interact
with the leaders in industry focusing on the issues. The CCX brings a market
reality to the carbon discussion. As a small non-profit, we don't generate
significant greenhouse gas emissions, but our people wanted to make the commitment
to reducing our carbon footprint in our daily activities. We hope to learn
as an organization and share our experience with companies and governments
in the region."
As an associate member of the CCX, HARC will quantify
its carbon footprint and then make specific commitments to reduce those emissions
over the next
five years. HARC expects that most of its emissions savings will come from
improving the energy efficiency of its building infrastructure, with smaller
gains in activities such as travel. Under the rules of the exchange, HARC
will purchase carbon financial instruments (CFIs) to offset carbon emissions
from a selection of business related activities.
HARC's participation in
the CCX underscores HARC's commitment to air quality and climate issues in
the region. HARC serves as the research management
organization for the Texas Environmental Research Consortium (TERC). Funded
by state and federal agencies, TERC seeks to improve air quality science
and modeling in ways that help Texas cities meet federal air quality standards.
HARC also manages an industry-sponsored hydrogen fuel cell test and evaluation
center; a high performance green building program; and a program, funded
by EPA, to explore ways of reducing the transportation sector's contribution
to urban air pollution. HARC has recently released the first report of the
Cool Houston initiative, a roadmap for reducing Houston's "urban heat
island effect" through cooler roofing and paving options and urban reforestation.
EPA Finalizes Extension for Compliance with the SPCC Rule
On June 17, 2004, EPA proposed to extend, by 12 months, certain upcoming compliance
dates for the July 2002 SPCC amendments. EPA has now finalized an 18-month
extension for the dates in 40
CFR 112.3(a) and (b) for a facility to amend
and implement its SPCC Plan to comply with the requirements as amended in 2002
(or, in the case of a facility becoming operational after August 16, 2002,
prepare and implement a Plan in a manner that complies with the 2002 amended
requirements). EPA has also amended the compliance deadlines in 40
CFR 112.3(c) for mobile facilities. EPA is granting the extension to, among other reasons,
provide sufficient time for the regulated community to undertake the actions
necessary to prepare and update their Plans in light of a recent partial settlement
of litigation involving the July 2002 amendments. The extension is also intended
to alleviate the need for individual extension requests.
This extension follows a previous 18-month extension announced on April 17,
2003, and extends deadlines for an additional 18 months from the dates promulgated
at that time. The new compliance dates are February 17, 2006, to amend an existing
SPCC Plan, and August 18, 2006, to implement the Plan. Affected facilities
that start operations between August 16, 2002 and August 18, 2006, must prepare
and implement an SPCC Plan by August 18, 2006. Affected facilities that become
operational after August 18, 2006 must prepare and implement an SPCC Plan before
The final rule was published in the Federal
Register on August 11, 2004.
For further information, please see http://www.epa.gov/oilspill.
IARC Classifies Formaldehyde as Carcinogenic to Humans
"Twenty-six scientists from 10 countries evaluated the available evidence
on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde, a widely used chemical", reports
Dr Peter Boyle, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer
(IARC), part of the World Health Organization. The working group, convened
by the IARC Monographs Programme, concluded that formaldehyde is carcinogenic
to humans. Previous evaluations, based on the smaller number of studies available
at that time, had concluded that formaldehyde was probably carcinogenic to
humans, but new information from studies of persons exposed to formaldehyde
has increased the overall weight of the evidence.
Based on this new information,
the expert working group has determined that there is now sufficient evidence
that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans, a rare cancer in
developed countries. "Their conclusion that there is adequate data available
from humans for an increased risk of a relatively rare form of cancer (nasopharyngeal
cancer), and a supporting mechanism, demonstrates the value and strengths of
the Monographs Programme," emphasized Dr Boyle. The working group also
found limited evidence for cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses
and "strong but not sufficient evidence" for leukemia. The finding
for leukemia reflects the epidemiologists' finding of strong evidence in human
studies coupled with an inability to identify a mechanism for induction of
leukemia, based on the data available at this time. "By signalling the
degree of evidence for leukemia and cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal
sinuses, the working group identified areas where further clarification through
research is needed. This represents a service to Public Health", Dr Boyle
Formaldehyde is produced worldwide on a large scale. It is used mainly in
the production of resins that are used as adhesives and binders for wood products,
pulp, paper, glasswool and rockwool. Formaldehyde is also used extensively
in the production of plastics and coatings, in textile finishing and in the
manufacture of industrial chemicals. It is used as a disinfectant and preservative
(formalin) in many applications.
Common sources of exposure include vehicle emissions, particle boards and
similar building materials, carpets, paints and varnishes, foods and cooking,
tobacco smoke, and the use of formaldehyde as a disinfectant. Levels of formaldehyde
in outdoor air are generally low but higher levels can be found in the indoor
air of homes.
Occupational exposure to formaldehyde occurs in a wide variety of occupations
and industries: for example, it is estimated that more than one million workers
are exposed to some degree across the European Union. Short-term exposures
to high levels have been reported for embalmers, pathologists and paper workers.
Lower levels have usually been encountered during the manufacture of man-made
vitreous fibres, abrasives and rubber and in formaldehyde production industries.
A very wide range of exposure levels has been observed in the production of
resins and plastic products. The development of resins that release less formaldehyde
and improved ventilation has resulted in decreased exposure levels in many
industrial settings in recent decades.
The working group also evaluated two glycol ethers (2-butoxyethanol and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol)
and evaluated these as not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans,
due to the inadequate level of evidence in humans and limited evidence in experimental
animals available to the experts. Further research is needed on these widely-used
EPA Proposes Critical Use Exemption of Methyl Bromide
EPA is proposing a rule to amend existing regulations
that call for the phaseout of methyl bromide (MeBr) by January
1, 2005. The
Agency’s action seeks to create a critical use exemption for MeBr.
The exemptions for continued production and import of methyl bromide
would continue to honor the U.S. commitment to obtain for American farmers
methyl bromide they need, in a manner consistent with the Montreal Protocol,
while protecting the ozone layer.
The critical use exemptions proposed
by EPA were developed through collaboration between EPA, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, agricultural economists and many other technical experts.
EPA conducted six stakeholder sessions during the summer of 2003 (see
http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr for transcripts) to discuss the variety
of options for the allocation system.
EPA will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register and will
accept comments on the proposed rule during a 30-day comment period.
exemptions are anticipated under the Montreal Protocol for circumstances
where there are no technically and economically feasible alternatives
to methyl bromide. The critical use exemptions are from 2005 phaseout
bromide and subject to countries obtaining authorization from the
Parties to the Montreal Protocol. The U.S. is one of 11 countries that
given critical use exemptions. The 187 countries that signed the
Montreal Protocol authorized a total of 8,942 metric tons of methyl bromide
for the United States for critical uses in 2005. The signatory countries
an upper limit on the amount of methyl bromide that can come from
production and import for critical use exemptions in 2005. The parties
35 percent of baseline as the maximum amount of methyl bromide available
the critical uses in 2005. A portion of this amount will be coming
inventory, and the rest from methyl bromide newly produced or imported
The agreement directs each country to take into account the amount
of methyl bromide in inventory that is available for critical uses before
new production and import for the critical use exemption.
rule describes the decisions and proposes a method for determining
the existing U.S. inventory of methyl bromide is available for
To update information on methyl bromide inventories being
for sale to
other entities, the Agency is publishing concurrently with the
NPRM a notice under authority Section 114 of the Clean Air Act. Section
of the Clean
Air Act gives EPA authority to compel entities to provide information
to implement programs under the Act, in this specific case, the
exemption program. EPA, USDA and other government agencies have
made significant efforts to encourage production of alternatives to MeBr.
USDA has invested
more than $150 million in MeBr alternative research, and EPA
has registered new alternatives for specific crops and food sanitary uses.
has adopted a comprehensive approach to evaluating the currently
registered and pending soil fumigants, including giving priority to
For more information on the proposed rule, visit
Life Cycle of a Cell Phone, Green Shopping
Don't throw away that old cell phone. For ideas on what
you can do with it, see EPA's cell
phone poster. And for ideas on "green shopping," check
out this link.
Lab to Pay $500,000 Fine for Hazardous Waste Violations
Inc., a North Kingstown, RI chemical standards laboratory, has agreed to
pay a $500,000 penalty to settle claims by the U.S. EPA that it had extensive
hazardous waste handling violations at its facility in Quonset
Point Industrial Park.
The settlement stems from two days of inspections in September 2002 that EPA
conducted jointly with the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
During the inspection, EPA staff discovered numerous violations of hazardous
waste storage and management regulations at the company's production building
and several large outdoor containers behind the building.
The September 2002 inspection was done at the request of DEM, which first
discovered the violations during a state inspection in August 2002. Ultra Scientific
failed to correct the violations after this first state inspection.
Hazardous Waste Violations in NC
The state of NC has an online database with information on hazardous
waste violations and civil penalties assessed in the state. The data is available
Outreach on Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
and FDA are distributing What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish
and Shellfish, a brochure that presents the recommendations from the joint national
mercury advisory that the two agencies issued in March 2004. EPA recently
the brochures, with a letter signed by EPA and FDA, to over 170,000 members
of the U.S. medical community as well as state, tribal, and local health departments,
WICs, Pregnancy Planning Centers, and other
public health organizations.
You can get copies of the brochure, available
in both English (document number EPA-823-F-04-009)
and Spanish (document number EPA-823-F-04-010), by calling the EPA distribution
center at 1-800-490-9198 and giving them the appropriate document number. You
can also learn more about EPA’s fish consumption advisory program at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/.
(Online copies of the brochure are also available here.)