News and Announcements
Be Ready for a Flood - The Department of Ecology offers information on what this agency does during a flood, what you can do to prepare for winter weather, and several resources at www.ecy.wa.gov. Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program provides additional guidance for businesses and households on preparing for floods and what to do after an event at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/Floods. Note that a business that has had a release of a hazardous substance or oil above a reportable quantity has a legal obligation to report the release to the National Response Center (NRC) and, in most instances, to the Washington State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), even if the release is due to a natural event. Notification phone numbers and a follow-up reporting form are available at www.ecy.wa.gov/epcra/section304.html. It is recommended that businesses report all releases, since it is often difficult to determine if a reportable quantity has been released.
Proposed Revisions to the Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms - (Tier I and Tier II) - On August 8, 2011, EPA proposed revisions to the Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to add new data elements and revise some existing data elements. The proposed changes are intended to meet the purpose of EPCRA, which is "...to encourage and support state and local planning for emergencies caused by the release of hazardous chemicals and to provide citizens and governments with information concerning potential chemical hazards present in their communities."
The proposed revisions:
Organizations and facilities subject to section 312 of EPCRA and its implementing regulations found in 40 CFR 370 may be affected by this rule.
2009 Chemicals in Washington State Summary released - A printable copy of the 2009 Chemicals in Washington State Summary report is now available at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/biblio/1104006.html. This summary and supporting data is also available in a new web report at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/epcra/chemical_summary/chem_summary_intro.html on the EPCRA web site.
EPA Considers Mercury Ban - Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authorizes EPA to take regulatory action to protect against unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment due to the manufacture, import, processing, distribution in commerce, use, or disposal of a chemical substance or mixture. EPA used Section 6 of TSCA to set stringent controls on the use and manufacture of products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and asbestos.
EPA is now evaluating whether an action (or combination of actions) under Section 6(a) is supportable for mercury used in products for which available information indicates that effective and economically feasible alternatives exist, including switches, relays, flame sensors, button cell batteries, manometers (other than natural gas manometers), barometers, and psychrometers/hygrometers. As appropriate, such an action(s) would involve a group(s) of these products. The agency will determine whether the continued use of mercury in one or more of these products would pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment.
EPA has conducted both a preliminary analysis and a Risk-Based Prioritization of Mercury in Certain Products. By compiling data pertaining to the stated costs, advantages, and disadvantages associated with mercury-free alternatives to certain mercury-containing products, EPA made a preliminary judgment that effective and economically feasible alternatives exist.
These products include switches, relays/contactors, flame sensors, button cell batteries, and measuring devices (e.g., nonfever thermometers, manometers, barometers, pyrometers, flow meters, and psychrometers/hygrometers).
Mercury is well-documented as a toxic, environmentally persistent substance that demonstrates the ability to bioaccumulate and to be atmospherically transported on a local, regional, and global scale. In addition, mercury can be environmentally transformed into methyl mercury which biomagnifies and is highly toxic.
Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) is a competitive grant program that offers an innovative way for a community to organize and take action to reduce toxic pollution in its local environment. Through CARE, a community creates a partnership that [implements solutions to reduce releases of toxic pollutants and minimize people's exposure to them. By providing financial and technical assistance, EPA helps CARE communities get on the path to a renewed environment. Read more.
EPA Calls for Partnering on School Chemical Safety - What should a school do with outdated chemicals that may have been sitting in the lab cabinet or storage closet for 20 years or more? EPA's program helps schools safely manage chemicals and avoid costly, and possibly dangerous, accidental chemical spills. The campaign provides schools with a free Web-based toolkit and connects school officials with local experts and industry leaders in chemical management who can assist in safely removing the chemicals from school property. Read more http://www.epa.gov/sc3/.
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