Issue Date: May 9, 2011
EPA Tightens Rules For Lead Smelters
EPA is proposing stricter emissions standards for secondary lead smelters, one of the largest sources of industrial lead emissions. Secondary lead smelters use furnaces to remove and recycle lead from scrap material, mostly from automobile batteries. EPA says these facilities have already achieved significant emissions reductions as a result of the existing federal standards, which were issued in June 1997, as well as state and industry actions. The proposal would require smelters to cut their emissions of lead and arsenic by 63% from current levels, adding up to a total reduction of more than 95% over the past 15 years. Smelters would also need to meet new emissions limits for dioxins, which can cause cancer. EPA says fewer than 20 secondary smelters currently operate in the U.S. The tighter air pollution limits are required by a settlement EPA struck last year with environmental groups. The agency is under court order to finalize the new standards by Dec. 16.
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