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Clinton: Final Policy Statement on PBT


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From: PNEAC Webmaster (pneac@istc.illinois.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 09 1999 - 16:23:08 CST


CLINTON ANNOUNCES FINAL POLICY STATEMENT ON PBT CHEMICALS

In his weekly radio address, delivered last Saturday, President Clinton
announced new actions taken to fight pollution, particularly persistent,
bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) new chemical substances:

"One of the simplest but most potent tools in our fight against pollution
is public information. By requiring industries to tell communities how much
they pollute the air and water, we empower citizens to fight back, and
create a powerful incentive for industry to pollute less. Remarkably, in
the decades since the public's right to know about chemical releases became
the law of the land, industry's toxic pollution has fallen nearly 50 percent.

Today, my administration is again expanding the public's right to know.
We're acting to protect families against some of the most dangerous
chemicals ever known -- including mercury, dioxin and PCBs. Right now,
companies are required to disclose their uses of these chemicals only if
they handle huge quantities. Beginning January 1st, we'll require companies
to inform the public even if they're using much smaller quantities -- in
some cases, just ten pounds a year. In the case of dioxin, a chemical that
can cause harm even in minute quantities, companies must report if they
produce as little as a tenth of a gram."

As announced in this address, EPA has issued a final policy statement on
establishing a category for PBT chemicals. PBT chemicals are priority
pollutants because they do not break down quickly and remain in the
environment for long periods. They bioaccumulate, or build up, in the food
chain and are known to cause a variety of health hazards at low doses,
including reproductive disorders and cancer. The policy statement
establishes the parameters for what is to be considered a PBT chemical
under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and is important to the
regulation of new chemicals. The policy also will serve as a model for
other countries in taking steps to discourage the introduction of these
substances as new chemicals and pesticides. It will be published in the
Federal Register soon. Information on PBT chemicals can be found on-line at
http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/pbt. A PDF file of the final PBT rule may be
downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/tri/pbtrule.htm.

Gary Jones
PNEAC / GATF


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