Air Toxics Concentration Data Released

Aug. 22, 2000
EPA has posted information on the Internet estimating outdoor\r\nconcentrations of 32 air toxics nationwide.

EPA has posted information on the Internet estimating outdoor concentrations of 32 air toxics nationwide.

Air toxics are those pollutants known or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health problems, such as birth defects.

This posting represents the first phase of EPA''s National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment, a detailed look at 32 common air toxics identified as posing the greatest potential risks to public health in urban areas.

The information released does not estimate human exposure or health risks -- EPA is developing those estimate for release in early 2001.

This first phase of the assessment includes estimated emissions from industries and other facilities in 1996 and estimated concentrations in the outdoor air.

In the next phase of the assessment, EPA will develop estimates of the amount of toxics people breathe and the resultant health risk.

EPA will submit these estimates to scientific peer review later this year.

The assessment is different from the agency''s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), a program comprising annual industry-generated estimates of air, water and waste emissions.

For example, today''s assessment includes data on toxic air emissions from on-road vehicles, which the TRI does not.

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 require EPA to regulate toxic air pollution by industry.

To date, the agency has issued 46 regulations for 82 different types of major industrial sources, such as chemical plants, oil refineries, aerospace manufacturers and steel mills.

EPA expects these standards, combined with its rules for smaller industries, to reduce yearly emissions of air toxics by 1.5 million tons from 1990 levels.

In addition, EPA as issued a suite of motor vehicle and fuels regulations, including tailpipe emission standards for cars, SUVs, mini-vans, pickup and heavy trucks and buses; standards for cleaner-burning gasoline; a natural low-emission vehicle program; and the recently proposed standards for low-sulfur diesel fuel.

These requirements are expected to reduce, by the year 2020, emissions of a number of air toxics from on-road motor vehicles by at least 75 percent from 1990 levels, according to EPA.

The agency plans to update the assessment every three years to help measure the nation''s progress in reducing public health risks from air toxics.

The information posted is available at

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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