Pennsylvania Center Helps Printing Industry Reduce Pollution

Pennsylvania gives a $300,000 grant to help the printing industry reduce volatile organic compound emissions.

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The printing industry in Pennsylvania will soon have the "write" stuff.The state has awarded a $300,000 grant to the Electrotechnology Applications Center (ETAC) at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Northampton County, which will help the printing industry reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms when VOCs and nitrogen oxides "bake" in the hot sun, making it difficult for people to breathe.

"We need to find new and innovative ways to help small businesses such as printers reduce the VOCs they create as part of their operations," said David E. Hess, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "Through DEP''s $300,000 grant, printers will be able to test new ways to reduce air pollution before they make investments in new equipment."

A renewable, environmentally friendly coating made from natural oils -- cured with a compact, low-cost, state-of-the-art electron beam -- is one of the new technologies that printers will be able to test.

Approximately 4,000 printing businesses operate in Pennsylvania, and they produce about 8,000 tons of VOCs annually.

The ETAC will receive $100,000 for each of the next three years for this project.

Since 1998, DEP has awarded $3.8 million in grants to ETAC to help small businesses through new technologies like infrared, ultraviolet, microwave and radio-frequency energies to improve coating and curing processes to prevent air pollution.

For more information on air quality, visit DEP at www.dep.state.pa.us (directLINK "air quality").

by Sandy Smith

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