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Release Date: 09/01/98
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EPA today announced the availability of a draft strategy required under the Clean Air Act to reduce public health risks from toxic air pollutants in the future after the substantial reductions now being achieved by the Agency. Air toxics are those pollutants known to or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health effects. EPA will be working closely with states, local communities, industry, small businesses and other interested parties to fully develop the strategy.
Under the law, EPA is required to identify at least 30 important toxic air pollutants and their sources. The Act also requires EPA to publish a strategy and schedule of actions to reduce those pollutants that still may pose risks after implementation of current pollution controls. Any new regulatory actions called for under the final strategy would be implemented between 2000 and 2009. This strategy does not prevent states that have begun or desire to begin their own toxic reduction programs to move forward sooner. Several state and local governments already have toxic reduction programs underway.

The strategy builds on the substantial emission reductions EPA, state and local governments have already achieved. Over the past five years EPA has issued rules reducing air toxics emissions from chemical plants, petroleum refineries and other facilities by over one million tons a year. For example, in 1995 EPA issued a rule significantly reducing toxic emissions from municipal waste combustors -- including a 99% reduction of dioxin emissions and over 90% reduction in mercury emissions. The Agency also has substantially reduced toxic emissions from cars, trucks, and fuels.

No planning of regulations that might evolve from the strategy would even begin until after a final strategy is adopted in June 1999. Today’s proposed strategy is the beginning of an effort to assess any remaining need for additional emission reduction that may be required to protect public health.

The public comment period will run for 90 days from the date the draft strategy is published in the Federal Register. A copy of the strategy can be obtained immediately on EPA’s Unified Air Toxics Web Site at: For further technical information on the strategy, phone Laura McKelvey of EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-541-0877.

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