WASHINGTON — Small plants that produce plastic foam and resins are targeted under a new air-pollution-reduction strategy the Environmental Protection Agency is developing.
The strategy, which the EPA released Aug. 31, lists 34 industries that are likely to face new rules for cutting emissions of 33 chemicals the government considers harmful to health in urban areas.
The new rules would take effect between 2005 and 2009.
The agency has some flexibility in developing specific emission standards for each industry, and does not have to employ the same stringent standards it uses for larger plants, said Laura McKelvey, EPA environmental scientist and team leader on urban air toxics at the agency's office in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Larger plants typically must reduce emissions to the level of the cleanest 12 percent of facilities.
The standards would apply to any plant emitting less than 25 tons of all 33 pollutants, and less than 10 tons of any one.
Foam-making plants would be monitored for acrylonitrile, bis (2ethylhexyl)phthalate, cadmium compounds, chromium compounds and ethylene dichloride, while resin manufacturing plants would be monitored for bis (2ethylhexyl)phthalate.
Officials with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington who are familiar with the plan could not be reached.
McKelvey said EPA is looking for comments on setting specific emissions standards and on how much of the chemicals are emitted by industry, to determine which of the 34 target industries should face new rules first.
The agency plans public meetings Sept. 23 in Washington, Sept. 29 in Research Triangle Park, Nov. 5-6 in Chicago and Nov. 19 in San Francisco.
The smaller industrial sources targeted account for 34 percent of emissions of the hazardous chemicals, while large plants account for 24 percent and mobile sources like automobiles account for 42 percent, EPA said.