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Hazardous Substances

The HRS rule, page 51586 defines hazardous substances as:

"CERCLA hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants as defined in CERCLA sections 101(14) and 101(33), except where otherwise specifically noted in the HRS."

CERCLA 101(14) defines hazardous substances by referring to definitions in other laws.

  • A list of over 600 CERCLA hazardous substances is provided in 40 CFR 302.4.

CERCLA 101(33) defines pollutants or contaminants in terms of their negative impact on people and the environment:

The term "pollutant or contaminant" shall include, but not be limited to, any element, substance, compound, or mixture, including disease-causing agents, which after release into the environment and upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation, or assimilation into any organism, either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion through food chains,will or may reasonably be anticipated to cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutation, physiological malfunctions (including malfunctions in reproduction) or physical deformations, in such organisms or their offspring; except that the term pollutant or contaminant shall not include petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof which is not otherwise specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance... and shall not include natural gas, liquefied natural gas, or synthetic gas of pipeline quality (or mixtures of natural gas and such synthetic gas).

These negative impacts must be documented if a pollutant or contaminant is used for HRS scoring. (For example, one NPL site was scored solely on nitrates. The documentation record included a reference that showed that the concentration in ground water was above safe levels for infants. The U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld EPA in the listing of the site.)- see Apache Powder Company v.EPA, No.90-1543, June 1992

The HRS definition of hazardous substances includes both CERCLA hazardous substances and "pollutants or contaminants."

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