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Technology Transfer Network - OAR Policy and Guidance

FACT SHEET

FINAL AMENDMENTS TO AIR TOXICS STANDARDS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS

FACT SHEET

ACTION
BACKGROUND
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ACTION
  • On March 31, 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final decision to maintain, without changes, the December 1994 national emission standards to control toxics air pollutants, also called air toxics, from facilities that manufacture magnetic tape. See more information below to obtain a copy of the final amendments.
  • EPA analyzed emissions from these facilities after implementation of the 1994 air toxics rule and determined that the risks to human health and to the environments are low. Therefore, EPA need not require further emissions reductions.
  • The magnetic tape manufacturing industry uses a primary coating process in which a mixture of magnetic particles, resins, and solvents is applied to either a plastic film (tape) or paper. Emissions include solvents (e.g., toluene) and particulate air toxics emissions (e.g. cobalt). There are six magnetic tape manufacturing facilities in the United States.
  • EPA issued a national rule to limit emissions of toxic air pollutants from these facilities in 1994. That rule is one of 96 rules called maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards that require 174 industry sectors to eliminate 1.7 million tons per year of 187 toxic air pollutants. Congress listed these toxic air pollutants in the Clean Air Act.
  • The 1994 MACT standards for magnetic tape manufacturing operations reduce emissions of toxic pollutants by approximately 2,300 tons each year.
  • The Clean Air Act requires EPA to assess the risk remaining after the application of the 1994 MACT. These are called residual risk assessments.
  • The Clean Air Act also requires EPA to review and revise, as necessary, the 1994 standards by taking into account developments in practices, processes, and control technologies.
  • EPA considered the public comments received on the proposal and we are finalizing the decision, as proposed.
  • EPA is making a final decision that no further action is necessary to revise the standards, because:
    - EPA’s residual risk analyses show that there is not a significant health risk associated with any of the facilities currently manufacturing magnetic tape in the United States.
  • EPA’s investigation of emission control technologies available to the magnetic tape manufacturing industry did not identify any significant developments in practices, processes, or control technologies since promulgation of the original standards in 1994. In fact, two new technologies (optical recording media and solid state recording media) may eventually supplant magnetic tape.
  • The final action responds to public comments on the residual risk assessment and technology review and announces EPA’s final decision to take no further action to revise the standards.

BACKGROUND
  • The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate air toxics from large industrial facilities in two phases.
  • The first phase is “technology-based,” where EPA develops standards for controlling the emissions of air toxics from sources in an industry group (or “source category”). These maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards are based on emissions levels that are already being achieved by the better-controlled and lower-emitting sources in an industry.
  • Within 8 years of setting the MACT standards, EPA is required to assess the remaining health risks from each source category to determine whether the MACT standards appropriately protect public health. Applying this “risk-based” approach called residual risk, EPA must determine whether more health-protective standards are necessary.
  • Also, every 8 years after setting the MACT standards, the Clean Air Act requires that EPA review and revise the standards, if necessary, to account for improvements in air pollution controls and/or prevention.
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