An attempt to develop voluntary emissions regulations for the fluoropolymer industry hit a snag Oct. 29, after an Environmental Protection Agency official said there is a ``large disconnect'' between industry and EPA ideas for monitoring emissions.
But both groups said they will resume talking, with the hope of resolving the dispute by early 2004. The Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., EPA and environmental and community groups are trying to craft a consensus on regulating emissions of a processing aid used to make fluoropolymers.
Rather than having EPA write a regulation, the groups are trying to develop a legally binding ``enforceable consent agreement,'' or ECA, that would cover emissions of perfluorooctanoic acid.
The process is unusual for EPA, and agency officials launched it in April out of concern that PFOA is toxic and the general public is mysteriously exposed at low levels. Industry groups say the chemical is safe.
Both EPA and SPI officials said at an Oct. 29 public hearing in Washington that they have made progress in some areas of negotiating an ECA, but have been unable to close the gap on how to monitor PFOA emissions.
Besides fluoropolymer manufacture and use, PFOA also may come from telomers, compounds used in foams for firefighting, and as coatings on textiles, paper and carpet. Similar concerns have arisen in monitoring discussions for telomers.
David Rurak, safety, health and environment manager for DuPont Fluoroproducts in Wilmington, Del., said the industry has provided EPA with monitoring data and proposals for more monitoring, but has not heard from the agency.