June 23, 2004


Tiffany Harrington

Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council Endorses National Academies of Science Dioxin Review Even as Chlorine Sector Dioxin Releases Plummet

C. T. "Kip" Howlett, Jr., Executive Director of the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council, released the following statement today:

"In the spirit of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Earth Day 2004 theme, Environmental Progress: Celebrate and Accelerate, the chlorine chemistry industry reports accelerated progress in managing dioxins in 2002, reducing already low Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) emissions to air and water by 68 percent over year 2000 emissions. We are pleased to report that in 2002, the chlorine sector's dioxin releases fell to just 10.4 grams-TEQ*.

Even as industrial dioxin releases decline, the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council supports the National Academies of Science review of the EPA dioxin reassessment. This review is critical to harmonizing EPA's dioxin risk characterization with those of respected public health agencies worldwide. Overly conservative assumptions and selective use of the available data on dioxin have resulted in an EPA dioxin risk analysis that is inconsistent with the conclusions of other agencies.

Releases to air and water from the chlorine sector in 2002 represent less than one percent of the total 2002/2004 EPA-projected dioxin emissions from quantified sources. The vast majority of dioxin generated as an unwanted byproduct in 2002 was destroyed either on- or offsite, or disposed of in special hazardous waste or other types of landfills.

The dioxin environmental success story began long before the EPA began requiring facilities to report dioxin releases to the environment as part of the year 2000 TRI. EPA data show that industrial dioxin emissions have been reduced by 92 percent since 1987. Given this encouraging trend, it is not surprising that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the blood level of dioxin in the average U.S. resident is below the limits of analytical detection (Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, 2003). Clearly, the EPA and industry can celebrate this impressive victory-achieved through the winning combination of government regulations and voluntary industry efforts.

While the body of dioxin science grows daily, our member companies continue to support efforts to further reduce dioxin emissions and, at the same time, provide the building blocks of chlorine chemistry that help produce essential products that make our lives safer, healthier and more convenient."

Chlorine Chemistry is a Small Source of Dioxin Releases Sector Represents Less Than 1% of 2002-4 EPA-Estimated Dioxin Releases1
Charts for 1987 and 1995 are based on data from the "US Environmental Protection Agency Inventory of Sources of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the United States-1987 and 1995" . The 2002/4 chart is based on EPA projections assuming full compliance with regulatory levels by this period and the closure of a copper smelter (personal communication, Dwain Winters, US EPA, 9-9-02).

1Some sources included in the US EPA Inventory of Sources of Dioxin in the US are not included in the Toxic Release Inventory. These include some large sources such as municipal incineration and backyard barrel burning.

* "Other" category includes leaded and unleaded gasoline, land-applied 2,4-D, iron ore sintering, oil-fired utilities, EDC/vinyl chloride, lightweight aggregate kilns that combust hazardous waste, petroleum refinery catalyst regeneration, cigarette smoke, boilers/industrial furnaces, crematoria, and drum reclamation.

* TEQ (toxic equivalents) is the internationally accepted standard for measuring dioxin emissions.

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