EPA lowers threshold for reporting on lead emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a tightening of the reporting requirements for industry’s emissions of lead into the environment.

Previously, only facilities manufacturing or processing more than 25,000 pounds of lead or lead compounds per year, or using more than 10,000 pounds per year, were required to report emissions to the air, water and land, which, according to the EPA, severely limited the information available to communities. From this year onwards, the EPA has lowered the threshold to 100 pounds or more annually for each facility emitting lead and lead compounds, with reports on 2001 emissions being submitted by the beginning of July next year. Lead contained in stainless steel, brass, or bronze alloys is not affected by the new regulation, but remains subject to the previous threshold.

“Expanding the public’s right to know information is one of the best tools for protecting the health of our communities,” said out-going EPA Administrator Carol M Browner. “Today’s action is another step in the Clinton Administration’s efforts to combat lead poisoning by ensuring that the public has access to critical information about toxic chemicals in their neighbourhoods. Children’s exposure to lead is still a great cause of concern in America. Childhood lead poisoning still adversely affects the health of almost one million children a year in this country.”

The new information on lead emissions will be made available to the public under the EPA’s right-to-know programme, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) (see related story), and is part of the Agency’s effort to educate the public about toxic chemicals, particularly those that are persistent and bioaccumulative.

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