Published On: Thu, Apr 21st, 2011

US EPA proposes new emissions cuts for domestic PVC plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed stronger standards that would require facilities that produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to reduce emissions of harmful toxics.

Exposure to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues, and can increase the risk of developing cancer, the agency said. In particular, children are known to be more sensitive to the cancer risks posed by inhaling vinyl chloride, one of the known carcinogens emitted by this source category.

The standards would reduce emissions of air toxics, such as dioxin and vinyl chloride, while giving facilities the flexibility to choose the most practical and cost-effective control technology or technique to reduce their emissions. Facilities would also need to monitor emissions at certain points in the PVC production process to ensure standards are met.

Air toxics from the PVC production process impact nearby communities. Currently, there are 17 PVC production facilities throughout the United States, with a majority of these facilities located in Louisiana and Texas. All existing and any new PVC production facilities would be covered by this proposal.
In a separate action, EPA is developing standards for the chemical industry that will address air toxics such as dioxins and vinyl chloride. The agency will issue a proposal for these sources later this year.

PVC production facilities manufacture PVC resins that are used to make a large number of commercial and industrial products at other manufacturing facilities. These products include latex paints, coatings, adhesives, clear plastics, rigid plastics, and flooring.

EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The agency will also hold two public hearings in the Houston and Baton Rouge, La. areas. More information on the hearings will be available soon.


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