UNITED STATES
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
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2EZEnvironmental News
Ryan (202) 755-0344
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 197 6
EPA PROPOSES GUIDELINES TO REDUCE HUMAN LUNG IRRITANT
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed air
pollution guidelines and compliance times for States to control
sulfuric acid mist emissions from existing sulfuric acid pro-
duction plants.
Compliance with State emission standards at least as
stringent as the EPA guidelines will decrease concentrations
of this pollutant up to 96 percent around sulfuric acid plants
not currently utilizing proper procedures.
On December 23, 19 71, EPA issued sulfuric acid mist stand-
ards of performance for new sulfuric acid production units or
units modified in a manner that increases emissions. These
new source performance' standards were issued under Section 111(b)
of the Clean Air Act, which required EPA to establish regula-
tions for categories of industries causing or contributing to
the endangerment of public health or welfare.
Since sulfuric acid mist is a so-called "designated' pollu-
tant (one not already covered by ambient air quality standards),
the Acrency is required by 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act to estab-
lish guidelines which will trigger action by the States to
establish emission standards for this pollutant at sulfuric
acid plants already existing in their jurisdictions. These
State standards, however, must be approved by EPA.
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EPA issued procedures and requirements for implementing
111(d) on November 17, 1975. These procedures drew a distinc-
tion between designated, pollutants that endanger public health
(health-related) and tfyose dapi^ging vegetation, buildings and
other materials (welfare-related). For health-related pollu-
tants, State standards must ordinarily be as stringent as those
recommended in EPA emission guidelines, unless economic factors
or physical limitations make this unreasonable; for welfare-
related pollutants, States are given more flexibility in
balancing EPA guidelines with other factors of public concern.
Toxicological studies have shown sulfuric acid mist to be
a respiratory irritant causing acute and chronic irritation to
human lungs and bronchial tubes. Thus, sulfuric acid mist has
been determined to be a health-related designated pollutant.
Sulfuric acid mist also reduces visibility, accelerates metal
corrosion, disintegrates building materials, and causes textile,
paper and vegetation damage.
The EPA proposed guideline is 0.25 gram sulfuric acid
mist per kilogram of sulfuric acid produced (0.5 lb./ton),
and sets a compliance deadline for 17 months after the stand-
ard becomes effective. States will enforce their
standards.
Sulfuric acid is a corrosive liquid widely used in making
fertilizers, dyes, paints, explosives and other substances.
There are presently 214 existing sulfuric acid production units
located in 41 States, and EPA estimates that about 14 States
already have standards at least as stringent as the proposed
guideline.
Full compliance with State emission standards at least as
stringent as the standard in the proposed EPA guideline will
necessitate a $31.4 million increase in investment by the
industry, and annualized cost increases to the industry of $9.4
million. On a unit basis, the annualized costs are $.69 cents
per ton, which is approximately 2.3 percent of the current markel
value of sulfuric acid. It is not anticipated that the implemen-
tation of the State standards will result in any job losses or
plant closings, or have any significant impact on water or noise
pollution, solid waste disposal or energy usage.
The emission guidelines for sulfuric acid mist (designated
a health-related pollutant) from existing sulfuric acid produc-
tion plants are the second to be issued under the 111(d)
authority; the first guidelines were for fluorides (designated
a welfare-related pollutant) from existing phosphate fertilizer
plants, issued May 12, 1976.
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A draft document on the guidelines is available for inspec-
tion at the Public Information Reference Unit (EPA Library),
Room 2922, 401 M St., S ,W., Washington, D.C. In addition,
free copies may be obtained by writing the Public Information
Center (PM-215), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M
St., S . W., Washington, D.C. 20 460 (specify; Draft Guideline
Document: Control of Sulfuric Acid Mist Emissions from Exist-
ing Sulfuric Acid Production Units, October 1976).
The proposed sulfuric acid mist guidelines were published
in the Federal Register, November 4, 1976. Copies are avail-
able from the Emission Standards and Engineering Division,
Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North
Carolina 2 7711, Attention: Don R. Goodwin. Written public
comment" on "the "guidelines must" be Submitted in triplicate to
the above address, by January 3, 197 7,
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