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Technology Transfer Network - OAR Policy and Guidance

FACT SHEET

AMENDMENTS TO THE AIR TOXICS STANDARDS FOR THE HALOGENATED SOLVENT CLEANING INDUSTRY

FACT SHEET

ACTION
BACKGROUND
MORE INFORMATION

ACTION
  • On August 9, 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the December 2, 1994, air toxics standards for halogenated solvent cleaning facilities. The proposal includes two options, both of which would result in increased health protection for the public and cost savings for the industry. 
  • Halogenated solvent cleaning machines use halogenated solvents or their vapors to remove soils such as grease, oils, waxes, carbon deposits, fluxes, and tars from metal, plastic, fiberglass, printed circuit boards, and other surfaces.  Halogenated solvent cleaning is typically performed prior to processes such as painting, plating, inspection, repair, assembly, heat treatment, and machining.
  • The proposed action addresses the residual risk and the eight-year technology review provisions in of the Clean Air Act. These provisions direct the EPA to review existing control technology standards that reduce emissions of air toxics from industrial facilities. EPA is to tighten those standards if needed to protect public health or because of improvements in emissions reduction methods. Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are known or suspected to cause cancer and/or may have other serious health or environmental effects.
  • The EPA set air toxic rules for this industry in 1994. The Agency set standards for larger (major) sources called maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards. These standards are based on the emissions levels of the better-controlled and lower-emitting facilities in an industry. The standards for smaller (area) sources are called Generally Available Control Technology (GACT).  In some instances, and in this case, the Agency set more stringent MACT standards for some of the area sources.
  • The proposed rule would only set additional requirements for major sources regulated by MACT because the Agency is exercising its authority to not set additional requirements for area sources subject to GACT.
  • There are nearly 1,900 degreasing facilities in the United States.  EPA estimates that the 1994 standards prevent nationwide emissions of air toxics by 85,300 tons per year.
  • In preparation for the proposed action, EPA completed a risk assessment to evaluate the risks remaining now that hazardous air emissions have been controlled at these facilities.  This evaluation is often referred to as a residual risk assessment. Also in preparation for the proposed action, EPA completed a technology review to determine if it was necessary to revise the existing standards to account for developments in work practices, processes, and control technologies.
  • Based on its findings, EPA is co-proposing and seeking comment on two options to amend to the existing standards. Both options would impose an annual cap on emissions of the solvents methylene chloride, perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene and provide cost savings to the industry.
  • The proposed emission caps provide affected facilities with the flexibility to reduce their emissions using any traditional methods available to reduce emissions from their degreasing operations.
  • Most of the facilities already emit less than either proposed caps. These proposals would focus on the higher emitting facilities. 
  • Under Option 1:
    • Approximately 25 percent of facilities would be affected.
    • Total air toxics emissions would be reduced by about 60 percent, or 5,800 tons per year (emissions would be reduced from 9,700 tons per year to 3,900 tons per year).
    • The maximum risk to an individual living close to the facility would be reduced by about 80 to 90 percent.  This is the range of maximum individual risk from unit risk estimates (URE) from EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) and The State of California EPA.
    • Approximately 90 percent of the people living close to a halogenated solvent cleaning facility would be exposed at risk levels less than 1 in a million, a level the Agency generally considers to be of little concern.
    • This option will result in a total annualized cost savings of nearly $6 million. Savings would result from decreased use of solvent, use of less expensive solvent, reduced cleaning time, equipment modifications as well as other actions.  
  • Under Option 2:
    • Approximately 30 percent of facilities would be affected.
    • Total air toxics emissions would be reduced by about 70 percent, or 6,700 tons per year (emissions would be reduced from 9,700 tons per year to 3,000 tons per year). 
    • The highest risk to an individual living close to the facility would be reduced by about 90 to 95 percent. This is the range of maximum individual risk from unit risk estimates (URE) from EPA’s OPPTS and The State of California EPA.
    • Approximately 97 percent of the people living close to a halogenated solvent cleaning facility would be exposed to risk levels less than 1 in a million, a level the Agency generally considers to be of little concern.
    • This option would result in a total annualized cost savings of nearly $5 million.
  • In comparison, risk reductions achieved under proposed Option 1 would result in approximately $1 million greater cost savings than proposed Option 2.  Proposed Option 1 would achieve an ample margin of safety by reducing MIR to 20-in-a-million and reducing cancer incidence to between 0.08 and 0.17 cases per year.  Proposed Option 2 would reduce MIR to 10-in-a-million and reduce incremental cancer incidence by between 0.02 and 0.04 cancer cases per year (or 1 to 2 cancer cases every 50 years).  Proposed Option 2 reduces individual risks more, and would result in a greater number of people with risks below 1 in-a-million.
  • No significant small business impacts are expected under either Options 1 or 2.
  • EPA will accept public comment on its proposal for 45 days following publication of the proposed action in the Federal Register.

BACKGROUND
  • The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate air toxics from industrial facilities in two phases.  In the first, technology-based, phase, EPA develops standards for controlling the emissions of air toxics from sources in an industry group, also called a “source category.” The standards for larger (major) sources are known as maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards, and are based on the emissions levels of the better-controlled and lower-emitting facilities in an industry. The standards for many smaller (area) sources are called Generally Available Control Technology (GACT). EPA finalized the halogenated solvent cleaning MACT and GACT standards in December of 1994.
  • In the second phase, the law requires EPA to review the technology-based standards and revise them, if necessary, to account for improvements in air pollution controls and/or prevention. The law directs EPA to repeat this assessment every eight years.
  • During the second phase of the program, EPA also is required to assess the remaining health risks from each industry group for which it has set MACT standards and determine whether more health-protective standards are necessary. If more protective standards are needed, EPA amends the MACT standards to add what is known as “residual risk standards.” EPA has discretion whether to conduct a residual risk assessment for facilities that have GACT standards.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
  • To download the proposed action from EPA's website, please go to http://www3.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3pfpr.html.
  • Today's proposed action and other background information are also available in hard copy at EPA's Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (Docket ID No. OAR-2003-0161).  The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the EPA Docket Center is (202) 566-1742.
  • NOTE:  The EPA Docket Center suffered damage due to flooding during the last week of June 2006.  The Docket Center is continuing to operate.  However, during the cleanup, there will be temporary changes to Docket Center telephone numbers, addresses, and hours of operation for people who wish to make hand deliveries or visit the Public Reading Room to view documents.  Consult EPA's Federal Register notice at 71 FR 38147 (July 5, 2006) or the EPA website at www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm for current information on docket operations, locations and telephone numbers.  The Docket Center’s mailing address for U.S. mail and the procedure for submitting comments to http://www.regulations.gov are not affected by the flooding and will remain the same.
  • HOW TO COMMENT:  Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. OAR-2003-0161 and submitted by one of the following methods: 
    • Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov)
    • e-mail (a-and-r-docket@epa.gov)
    • Mail (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460), or
    • hand delivery (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency,          Room B102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).
  • For further information about the proposed action, contact Mr. H. Lynn Dail of EPA's Office of Air Quality, Planning, and Standards, Sector Policies and Programs Division, Natural Resources and Commerce Group at (919) 541-2363 or by e-mail at dail.lynn@epa.gov.  Or visit the halogenated solvent cleaning or degreaser website at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/degrea/halopg.html.
  • The EPA's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) home page on the Internet contains a wide range of information on the air toxics program, as well as many other air pollution programs and issues.  The OAR home page address is:  http://www.epa.gov/oar.

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