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New Proposal to Cut Mercury, Lead, Other Air Emissions from Hazardous Waste Combustors

Release Date: 04/10/2004
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(04/10/04) EPA signed a proposed rule yesterday to significantly reduce air pollutant emissions from five types of combustion sources that burn hazardous waste. This proposal could cut up to 4000 tons yearly of such hazardous pollutants as mercury, lead, dioxin, arsenic, soot and sulfur dioxide. Hazardous air pollutants produce a wide variety of serious human health effects, including cancer, kidney damage and irritation of the lungs, skin and mucous membranes. The five types of combustion sources are: incinerators, cement kilns, lightweight aggregate kilns, steam and heat generation boilers, and hydrochloric acid production furnaces. EPA estimates the proposal would affect 150 facilities operating 276 existing hazardous waste-burning sources. This proposal would apply to all new and existing hazardous waste combustors, no matter what their size. The proposed rule is authorized by Clean Air Act provisions requiring EPA to develop regulations cutting hazardous air pollution emissions from various types of industries that emit one or more of 188 designated contaminants. These rules, including yesterday’s proposal, require the use of maximum achievable pollution control technology (MACT). Under MACT, new plants must use control technology as good as any being used in the country; existing plants must use technology as good as the average of the top 12 percent of existing facilities. The Federal Register notice, the database, a factsheet and background support documents on this proposed rule will be available soon at: