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EPA Partner Removes 1,600 Pounds of Priority Chemical from Waste Stream

Release Date: 03/12/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (March 12, 2009) -- During June 2008, the GrafTech International Holdings facility in Clarksburg, W. Va., joined the growing ranks of companies enrolling in EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP). The program encourages public and private organizations to form partnerships with EPA and to commit to reduce the use or release of any of 31 priority chemicals.

In line with GrafTech’s NPEP commitment, the company completed a project to install new pollution control equipment as part of the manufacturing process at the Clarksburg facility. The purpose of the project was to reduce the total emissions released during the manufacturing process. The modifications employed an absorbent material, petroleum coke fines, to capture petroleum coke from the manufacturing process. This prevented 1,600 pounds of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) and benzo(g,h,i)perylene from being discharged into the environment. Petroleum coke can be used as component in steel production and as a fuel additive.

PACs and benzo(g,h,i)perylene are priority chemicals targeted by the NPEP program. Both chemicals fall under the broader chemical heading of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are created through the incomplete burning of products like coal, oil, gas and garbage. They can stay in the environment for extended periods of time and are not easily destroyed. PAHs can enter the human body by inhaling contaminated air. Other ways one could be exposed is through ingestion and skin contact.

GrafTech International Ltd. is actively involved in graphite material science and has more than 120 years experience in the carbon and graphite industry. GrafTech has 11 manufacturing facilities located on four continents serving markets in 70 countries, including electronic, aerospace, and transportation to name just a few. The company’s story goes back to supplying arc carbons to the City of Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1900s, to allow the city to become the first in the world with electric powered street lamps. GrafTech was an Academy Award Oscar® winner for its work on arc carbons for the motion picture industry in the 1950's.

EPA and its partners, through the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities program, target 31 priority chemicals for reduction or elimination from the waste stream. This can be accomplished by eliminating the use of, recycling or reusing a chemical before it is disposed of. NPEP is a voluntary program. The efforts of EPA's partners are typically beyond any required compliance and are proactive steps to reduce their environmental footprint. NPEP partners set goals for chemical reduction and report accomplishments towards their goals.

For more information on NPEP go to: www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/wasteminimization.htm