Saturday, September 8, 2012

Final Air Toxics Rule For Chromium Electroplating Facilities

The final air toxics rule for chromium electroplating facilities, issued Aug. 15 by US EPA, rejected industry and environmentalists' requests to revise key provisions. The final rule closely follows the proposed version. The final rule concludes that a technology review of the chromium electroplating and steel pickling industry determined that new techniques are available to further lower air toxics from facilities at a "reasonable cost".

EPA also studied remaining health risks from the sector, and consequently tightened emissions limits for hexavalent chromium (Cr+6) emissions, to reduce cancer risks from covered facilities. The rule fulfills EPA's mandate under the Clean Air Act to conduct a residual risk review of air toxics controls for the sector. The Clean Air Act requires the performance of the review eight years following implementation of a national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) to determine remaining health risks from a sector's emissions. EPA must amend the existing NESHAP if a review finds justification for tighter controls.

EPA estimates that the revised NESHAP will cut hexavalent chromium emissions by 224 pounds annually. It also says many facilities are already reaching the revised hexavalent chromium limit, or emitting under the limit. The final rule finalized the agency's plan for a three-year phase out of the use of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) as a method for reducing hexavalent chromium emissions from hard chromium electroplating, decorative chromium electroplating, and chromium anodizing tanks.

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