March 07, 2003
EPA has released for public review and comment draft final guidelines for cancer risk assessment, as well as a supplemental guidance for assessing early-life exposure to carcinogens. The release of these draft documents is an important step in EPA's revision of cancer risk assessment guidelines first published in 1986. These guidelines provide a framework for EPA scientists to assess possible cancer risks from exposures to environmental pollutants.

EPA has been working to revise the 1986 guidelines in light of significant advances in scientific understanding of how cancer may be caused. EPA's guiding principle for revisions to the cancer guidelines is that Agency cancer risk assessments be both public health protective and scientifically sound. The draft guidelines have also previously been the subject of public review and independent scientific peer review. The current draft document reflects many of the comments and suggestions provided to EPA by various reviewers.

Because the draft final "Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment" recommends consideration of possible sensitive subpopulations and lifestages (such as childhood), EPA is also releasing for public comment a draft "Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Cancer Susceptibility from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens." The draft supplemental guidance is part of EPA's response to a 1994 recommendation by the National Research Council that "EPA should assess risks to infants and children whenever it appears that their risks might be greater than those of adults." Following public review and comment, this draft supplemental guidance will be peer reviewed by EPA's Science Advisory Board, which is comprised of a distinguished body of non-governmental experts drawn from academia, industry, and environmental communities.

The draft final cancer guidelines reflect EPA's evolving approach to cancer risk assessment, resulting from both significant strides in scientific knowledge and in EPA's experience in applying risk assessment principals and practices. Both the draft final guidelines and the draft supplemental guidance reflect the considerable increase in our fundamental knowledge of the biological processes of cancer, and are expected to enhance EPA's ability to more accurately assess the carcinogenic potential of environmental contaminants.

Both the draft final guidelines and the draft supplemental guidance are available at http://epa.gov/ncea/raf/cancer2003.htm .


The Department of Justice and EPA finalized on March 6, 2003 a settlement of the government's lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corporation for Clean Air Act violations involving 2.2 million vehicles manufactured between 1996 and 1998.

Under the settlement, Toyota will spend $20 million on a supplemental environmental project to retrofit up to 3,000 public diesel fleet vehicles to make them run cleaner and extend the emission control system warranty on affected vehicles. In addition, Toyota will accelerate its compliance with certain new emission control requirements, and pay a $500,000 civil penalty. The settlement will cost Toyota an estimated $34 million.

The United States alleged Toyota sold 2.2 million vehicles that were different from those described in its application for Certificates of Conformity, which allow vehicles to be legally sold if they meet Clean Air Act emission standards. The government's lawsuit charged Toyota failed to disclose limitations in the operation of that part of the on-board diagnostic system that checks for leaks in vehicles' evaporative emission control systems. As a result, the on-board diagnostic system would not promptly signal drivers to a problem by lighting their dashboard light. Emission control system leaks need to be noticed and repaired because fuel vapors into the atmosphere contribute to ozone pollution.

The supplemental environmental project requires Toyota to spend $20 million to retrofit up to 3,000 diesel vehicles, including older, high-polluting school buses and municipal buses (which are not manufactured by Toyota) with pollution control equipment, such as catalytic converters, filters or whole engines. This retrofit, along with the purchase of ultra-low sulfur fuel (which Toyota may subsidize) is expected to eliminate up to 220 tons of particulate matter emissions, 1,200 tons of hydrocarbon emissions, and 15,000 tons of carbon monoxide emissions.

School children near school buses, as well as pedestrians, are particularly likely to experience high exposure to diesel particulate matter. Diesel particulate is classified as a probable human carcinogen and is known to exacerbate the effects of asthma and heart disease. More than 24 million children across the nation ride diesel buses to school.

The settlement also requires Toyota to accelerate, by approximately one year, its compliance with EPA's new "near-zero" evaporative emissions regulation, which requires the capture of more gasoline vapors. Due to this accelerated compliance, about 1.4 million new Toyota vehicles manufactured from 2004 to 2006, which would not yet be subject to the new regulation, will be built with more robust evaporative emission control systems. The accelerated compliance schedule is estimated to cost Toyota about $11 million.

The case, filed in federal District Court in Washington, D.C., involves model year 1996 through 1998 vehicles, including some Camry, Avalon, Corolla, Tercel, Paseo, Lexus, Sienna minivans, 4Runner, RAV4, Tacoma and T100 models.

The settlement requires Toyota to notify affected owners of the warranty extension within the next 12 months. The evaporative emission control system warranty will be extended from the current two years or 24,000 miles to 14 years or 150,000 miles. The extended warranty is estimated to cost Toyota about $3 million, and will reduce emissions of hydrocarbons by affected vehicles by an estimated 30 tons, in addition to the 1,200- ton reduction of hydrocarbons achieved by the supplement environmental project.

Owners who have not received a notice within 12 months are encouraged to contact their local Toyota dealer. Owners who smell gasoline or whose malfunction indicator light illuminates should contact their mechanic to determine whether a repair under the extended warranty is indicated. A small number of affected vehicles are expected to have any such malfunction at this time, which is why the government did not consider a recall in this case.

The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register for 30 days for public comment, and must be approved by the Court.


Administrator Christie Whitman recognized 37 new members of the Performance Track program.

The program is a voluntary partnership program with public and private entities that go beyond compliance with environmental regulations and commit to continual environmental improvement over the next three years. Facilities recognized in this program consistently meet their legal requirements, implement environmental management systems, voluntarily achieve environmental improvements beyond compliance, and report on progress.

Launched in June 2000, Performance Track now has quickly grown and now has a total of 304 members. This round of Performance Track members includes the first port facility, the Port of Houston; the first jet manufacturer, Dassault Falcon Jet Corp; and the first concrete manufacturing facility, Lafarge Alpharetta Ready Mix. EPA also welcomes seven small businesses, one federal facility and additional facilities from already-represented organizations, such as International Paper, Baxter International Inc., Dupont, Arizona Chemical, Dana Spicer, Lockheed Martin, Sony, Bridgestone-Firestone, Motorola, Pfizer, 3M and NASA.

Individual facilities commit to specific environmental improvements, examples of this include: a 64 percent reduction in Volatile Organic Compound emissions by 2005; a 50 percent reduction in water use that will save 20 million gallons per year; and recycling and reduced energy consumption commitments.

New Performance Track Members are: Alabama's Jefferson County General Services Division; Arizona's Motorola GTSS; Arkansas Baxter Healthcare Corp. and Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. California's Baxter Healthcare Corp., Medication Delivery, and NASA Ames Research Center; Colorado's Ball Metal Beverage Container Corp.; Florida's Arizona Chemical, and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control; Georgia's Alpharetta Ready Mix Concrete Plant; Griffin Power Systems Caterpillar, and Interface Flooring Systems; Illinois' Airtex Products, Bridgestone, and Firestone Off Road Tire Co.; Iowa's EMCO Enterprises Inc.; Kentucky's Dana Spicer Heavy Axle and Brake Division; Maine's International Paper's Bucksport Mill; Massachusetts' Gillette Andover Manufacturing Center' Mississippi's Baxter Healthcare; Nebraska's 3M Valley and Pfizer; New Jersey's Huntsman Polyurethanes; Ohio's Johnson Diversey Sharonville Plant, Matsushita Display Devices Company of America, and Pro-Tec Coating Co.; Oregon's SunRidge Lumber Co.; Texas' Barbours Cut Container Terminal, Inspectorate America, Louisiana Pacific Oriented Strand Board, Motorola Inc/Ft. Worth, Motorola Inc./Oak Hill, Turning Basin Terminal Central Maintenance Facility; Virginia's DuPont Front Royal; Washington's Columbia Vista Corp.; Puerto Rico's Baxter Fenwal Division, Baxter Fenwal Division, and Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Puerto Rico.


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently published an electronic version of the 2002 Solvents, Coatings and Adhesives Technical Options Committee Assessment Report at http://www.protonique.com/unepstoc/

This report covers:

  • The current situation regarding ozone-depleting solvents
  • Electronics defluxing
  • Precision cleaning
  • Metal cleaning
  • Dry cleaning
  • Adhesives applications
  • Aerosols applications
  • Miscellaneous applications
  • Alternatives for developing countries

An appendix includes guidelines on the proper and safe use of halogenated solvents. It includes useful information to eliminate the use of ozone-depleting substances.


EPA and the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) this week released a report demonstrating the continued success of the OTC NOx Budget Program, a market-based emissions trading program created to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from power plants and other large combustion sources in the Northeast.

The OTC NOx Budget Program Progress Report finds that affected sources have significantly reduced NOx emissions in all participating states during the ozone season (May through September). Total regional emissions in 2002 were approximately 60 percent below 1990 levels. Daily peak emissions have also declined. The program achieved cost-effective NOx reductions and enabled a viable allowance trading market for NOx to emerge.

NOx is a prime ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), which aggravates asthma, increases susceptibility to respiratory illnesses and contributes to permanent lung damage. Through this unique program to address ozone, nine northeastern OTC states and the District of Columbia partnered with EPA and set a regional ozone season "budget" or cap on NOx emissions beginning in 1999. In its acid rain program, EPA has been using a cap and trade strategy nationwide since 1995 to successfully control sulfur dioxide emissions. However, the OTC NOx Budget Program is the first cap and trade program formed by a group of states, and represents the first large-scale application of "cap and trade" to a problem beyond acid rain.

The success of the OTC NOx Budget Program in reducing NOx in the Northeast is an important first step in efforts to reduce ambient ozone levels and supports the use of cap and trade to control multiple pollutants over broad regions in the future. Additional environmental progress is expected upon implementation of the NOx SIP Call emissions trading program. The NOx SIP Call cap and trade program, which was modeled after the OTC NOx Budget Program, will require more stringent NOx emissions reductions and will affect a much broader region. The NOx SIP Call program will begin in May 2003 for the OTC states. Additional states in the East and Midwest will join in May 2004.

Further NOx reductions using the cap and trade model have been proposed under various multipollutant legislative proposals currently being debated by Congress, including the Administration's Clear Skies Act. The OTC NOx Budget Program Progress Report (1999-2002) is available at http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets.


EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has signed 13 final rules to reduce toxic air emissions from industrial facilities across the United States.

Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are substances that are known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health problems in humans. When fully implemented, these final rules will reduce annual toxic air emissions by over 37,000 tons per year and avoid health effects including eye, lung, and skin irritation, liver, and kidney damage and cancer. The 13 standards that have been signed will also reduce over 6,000 tons of other air pollutants including: particulate matter and ozone forming volatile organic compounds.

These final rules apply to the following industries: asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing; brick and structural clay products manufacturing; coke oven batteries; engine test cells/stands; fabric and other textile coating, printing, and dyeing; flexible polyurethane foam fabrication operations; hydrochloric acid production; integrated iron and steel manufacturing; surface coating of metal furniture; reinforced plastics manufacturing; refractories manufacturing; semiconductor production; and surface coating of wood building products.

With this action EPA has issued final rules to control air toxics emissions from 123 of the 169 categories of industries listed for control in the Clean Air Act. More information on the 13 standards is available at http://www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks3.html .