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Environment

EPA Offers Guidance On Vapor Intrusion

by Jessica Morrison
June 22, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 25

New guidance from EPA is designed to help decision-makers in industry and government tackle indoor air pollution that stems from polluted ground below buildings. So-called vapor intrusion occurs when volatile organic chemicals migrate up from contaminated soil or groundwater into the air of an overlying building. Depending on the contaminant and the exposure, reported health effects include dizziness, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs. In the documents released earlier this month, EPA provides one set of recommendations for petroleum vapors leaking from underground storage tanks and another for all other kinds of pollution. The recommendations, which are not binding, cover conducting a site characterization and collecting samples of soil, water, or air. EPA offers guidance for vapor intrusion for stakeholders evaluating sites under the Superfund law for abandoned, polluted areas—the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act—and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, which governs hazardous waste.

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