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Air Toxics

Region 5 State Delegation Status

Region 5 States Air Toxic Programs Exit EPA Disclaimer

Background

Toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), are those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects. EPA currently regulates 187 HAPs.

Technology Based Program
Since 1970, the Clean Air Act has provided the primary framework for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of air pollution. In the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, Congress directed EPA to use a technology-based approach to significantly reduce emissions of air toxics from major stationary sources of air pollution, followed by a risk-based approach to address any remaining, or residual risks. Under the technology-based approach, EPA develops standards for controlling the emissions of air toxics from each major type of facility within an industry group. These standards, known as Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards, are based on emission levels that are already being achieved by the better-controlled and lower-emitting sources in an industry. Region 5's role in the Technology Based Program emphasizes enforcement.

Risk Based Program
Eight years after each MACT standard is issued, EPA must assess the remaining health risks from sources categories. EPA has started to shift its focus to the residual risk assessments for some MACT standards. If results show there is significant risk remaining, EPA would implement additional standards. Region 5's role in the Risk Based Program emphasizes community risk assessments and related activities, risk reduction, outreach and education. In risk assessments and related activities, Region 5 supports the development of emission inventories, collects and analyses monitoring data, and participates in many levels of risk assessments. Region 5's risk reduction activities include voluntary reduction programs, assessing compliance with MACT regulations, and assisting States with rule development. Finally, Region 5 provides outreach and education to State and local agencies, Tribal programs, community groups, and Industry.

In addition to the stationary source air toxics program efforts listed above, EPA continues to address air toxics associated with:

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Rule and Regulatory

Human Health and Risk Assessment

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Other Information Sources

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