EPA Updates Air Toxics' Assessment with 2005 Data

The assessment shows that between 1990 and 2005, air toxic emissions were reduced by about 42 percent from industrial and mobile sources.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the fourth update of a computer tool that helps federal, state, local governments, and other stakeholders better understand the potential health risks from exposure to air toxics.

The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) contains 2005 emissions data submitted primarily from the states for 178 pollutants. Models are used to make broad estimates of health risks for areas of the country. The tool is not designed to determine actual health risks to individuals living in these areas.

Because the data submitted varies from state to state, it is also not possible to use the data to compare risks between different areas of the country.

The assessment shows that EPA, the states, and industry are continuing to make progress to reduce air toxic emissions. Between 1990 and 2005, air toxic emissions were reduced by about 42 percent from industrial and mobile sources.

NATA is used to identify which geographic areas, pollutants, and types of emission sources might need closer investigation to more fully characterize potential risks and determine if actions may need to be taken to protect public health. EPA can also use the assessment to work with communities to design their own local assessment, improve the agency’s emissions inventories, and identify priorities for expanding the air toxics monitoring network. Once risks are fully characterized, state air agencies can decide if steps should be taken to reduce air toxics emissions.

In its summary (pdf), EPA identified the following compounds and their risks:

National cancer risk driver:
Formaldehyde, "likely carcinogenic to humans."

Regional cancer risk drivers:
Benzene: "carcinogenic to humans," polyaromatic hydrocarbons: "likely carcinogenic to humans," and naphthalene: "suggestive evidence of carcinogenicity."

National cancer risk contributors:
1,3-butadiene, arsenic compounds, chromium compounds, coke oven emissions: all “carcinogenic to humans.”
Acetaldehyde, acrylonitrile, carbon tetrachloride; ethylene oxide, tetrachloroethylene: all “likely carcinogenic to humans.”
1,4-dichlorobenzene: “suggestive evidence of carcinogenicity.”

Regional cancer risk contributors:
Nickel compounds: "carcinogenic to humans."
1,3-dichloropropene; methylene chloride: both "likely carcinogenic to humans.

National noncancer hazard drivers:

Regional noncancer hazard drivers:
2,4-toluene diisocyanate, chlorine, diesel PM, hexamethylene diisocyanate, hydrochloric acid, and manganese compounds.

Source: U.S. EPA

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar