EPA is proposing options to reduce air toxics emissions by up to 70 percent from halogenated solvent cleaning operations. Halogenated solvents, also known as degreasers, are used to remove soils such as grease, oils, waxes, carbon deposits and tars from metal, plastic, fiberglass and other surfaces.
The proposal includes two options, both of which would result in increased health protection for the public and cost savings for the industry. The proposals would impose an annual cap on emissions of the solvents methylene chloride, perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene. The caps would provide affected facilities with the flexibility to reduce their emissions using any traditional methods available. Most degreasing operations already emit less than either proposed caps. The proposal would focus on facilities posing the highest risks by requiring them to reduce emissions and meet the cap.
EPA issued a national rule to limit emissions of air toxics from degreasing operations in 1994. This rule is one of 96 rules called maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards that require 174 industry sectors to eliminate 1.7 million tons of 187 air toxics. Congress listed these toxic air pollutants in the Clean Air Act. There are nearly 1,900 degreasing operations in the United States. EPA estimates that the 1994 standards prevent nationwide emissions of air toxics by 85,300 tons per year.
The proposal addresses the residual risk and the eight-year technology review provisions in the Clean Air Act. These provisions direct EPA to review existing control technology standards. EPA is to tighten those standards if needed to protect health or because of improvements in emissions reduction methods.
EPA will accept public comment on its proposal for 45 days following publication of the proposed action in the Federal Register.
More information about the proposal and for how to comment: