printreg, November, 2003
Common Alcohol Sub to be Delisted as Air Toxic

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From: Gary Jones ( )
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 23:12:53

FYI - From BNA's Environmental Reporter

Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether is also known as 2-Butoxyethanol or Butyl Cellosolve and is one of the most common alcohol substitutes. It is also used in blanket washes and some water based inks.

Volume 34
Number 45 Page 2480
Friday, November 14, 2003
ISSN 1521-9410

Air Toxics Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether Proposed For Removal From Hazardous Pollutants

List The Environmental Protection Agency will propose removing ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE), a substance used in various industrial processes, from the list of hazardous air pollutants, an agency official told BNA Nov. 5.

Used in hydraulic fluids and water-based coatings for various industries including can manufacturers, EGBE "may not reasonably be anticipated to cause human health or environmental problems," the agency said.

The chemical also is used in vinyl and acrylic paints and varnishes and as a solvent for varnishes, enamels, spray lacquers, dry cleaning compounds, textiles, and cosmetics.

Following an August 1997 petition by the Chemical Manufacturers Association, now known as the American Chemistry Council, EPA conducted a six-year review of ambient EGBE levels and associated health and environmental impacts.


Chance To remove a listed air toxic, EPA requires the petitioner to demonstrate there is adequate data to determine that emissions, outdoor concentrations, bioaccumulation, or atmospheric deposition of the substance may not reasonably be expected to cause adverse effects.

During its review, EPA assessed EGBE for its potential to cause cancer in humans. A range of potential effects from the substance includes cancer and damage to red blood cells.

However, John Millett, spokesman for EPA's Air and Radiation Office, told BNA that for the given exposure levels, available data show that, at least for cancer, the risk has been "estimated down to a less than one-in-a-million chance."

In addition, exposure to EGBE tends to be chronic, not acute, but only acute exposure can be reasonably expected to cause red-blood cell damage, Millet said.

Nevertheless, he said there are two studies expected to be peer-reviewed within six months, well within the expected timeframe for this proposal to become final. The agency will then review the conclusions of those studies.

If EGBE is successfully delisted, Millet added, it will nonetheless continue to be regulated as a hazardous air pollutant from major sources.

EPA announced final emissions standards Nov. 13 that are expected to reduce hazardous air pollutants, including EGBE, by 70 percent from metal can coating operations in the United States.

Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, the agency is required to set emissions limits for 188 listed hazardous air pollutants. The agency is required to base the standards on maximum achievable control technology (MACT), which is defined as the emissions level achieved by the top 12 percent of sources in a source category.

'Not Scrapping This MACT.'

"We're not scrapping this MACT, but we would look at the facilities covered in the MACT," Millet said. The agency would first determine if these facilities are deemed major sources, and those that are regulated only for EGBE will then cease to be regulated, he said.

EPA will also consider whether alternatives to EGBE are more hazardous.

"If EGBE were to be delisted, use of it will likely lead to less use of those more hazardous substances," he said.

More information on the proposal including the prepublished version is at or on the World Wide Web

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