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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2003
12:17 PM

CONTACT:  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Seconda "Connie" Tyson , 202-564-7854

Recent Developments from the Environmental Protection Agency
 
WASHINGTON - March 20 - Following are some Agency developments which may interest you. If you need more information on any of these subjects, call the appropriate contact. ---

EPA Finalizes Voluntary Cancellation of Virtually All Residential Uses of CCA-Treated Wood

Contact: David Deegan 202-564-7839 or deegan.dave@epa.gov

On March 17, EPA granted the voluntary cancellation and use termination requests affecting virtually all residential uses of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood. Under this action, affected CCA products cannot be used after Dec. 30, 2003 to treat lumber intended for use in most residential settings. This transition affects virtually all residential uses of wood treated with CCA, including play structures, decks, picnic tables, landscaping timbers, residential fencing, patios and walkways/boardwalks. This action was proposed in February 2002 by the registrants of CCA-pesticide products used to treat wood. Phase-out of the residential uses will reduce the potential exposure risks to arsenic, a known human carcinogen, thereby protecting human health, especially children's health and the environment. The current action follows up on the February 2002 publication of a notice of receipt of voluntary cancellation/use termination requests, which also provided an opportunity for public comments to be submitted to EPA. A notice of the cancellation order will be published shortly in the Federal Register, and that document will include the Agency's response to comments. Consumers may continue to buy and use the treated CCA wood for as long as it is available. The transition to using the new generation treatment products is well underway. The Agency is deferring any action on two uses involved in the termination requests, therefore wood used in permanent wood foundations and fence posts for agricultural uses may continue to be treated with CCA at this time. EPA is working with the registrant community and other stakeholders to ensure that safer, comparable alternatives will be available. EPA is continuing its work on an ongoing comprehensive reevaluation of CCA-treated wood that has been underway as part of the Agency's effort to reevaluate older pesticides to ensure that they meet current health and safety standards. More information on CCA treated wood is available at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemicals/1file.htm

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EPA Working to Find Solutions on Perchlorate

Contact: Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 or ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

EPA is working with other federal agencies, the states, tribes, water suppliers and the public to evaluate perchlorate - a component of rocket fuel - as an environmental contaminant. EPA has been revising its 2002 draft health risk assessment that contains preliminary risk estimates that could be used to establish an official reference dose for perchlorate. (A reference dose is a scientific estimate of a daily exposure level that is not expected to cause adverse health effects in humans). However, the 2002 health risk assessment is not final, and substantial uncertainties remain. EPA has decided to submit questions regarding perchlorate health science to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). EPA will not complete or disseminate a final risk assessment until the NAS scientific review is concluded and the NAS comments are addressed. Accordingly, EPA has reaffirmed that its 1999 guidance on perchlorate should remain in effect pending the outcome of the NAS study. EPA also is gathering data to determine whether a drinking water standard for perchlorate is appropriate.

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EPA Launches 1-866-EPA-Aged to Promote Public Participation in Aging Initiative

Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 or millett.john@epa.gov

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced a toll-free number ? 1-866-EPA-AGED (372-2433) ? to increase public participation in the development of a National Agenda on the Environment and the Aging. The National Agenda on the Environment and the Aging is being developed to set priorities for research and education to address environmental hazards that threaten the health of older persons, which include examining the impact a rapidly aging population will have on the environment and engaging older Americans to volunteer in their communities to reduce environmental hazards. EPA is encouraging public comment and participation in the development of the agenda. English- or Spanish-speaking callers may offer comments or request information regarding the National Agenda by calling 1-866-EPA-AGED. The line is open 24 hours a day, and a customer service representative will be available Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Callers may also register for six public listening sessions being held to collect input for the National Agenda. The meetings are scheduled for Tampa, Fla. (April 3); San Antonio, Texas (April 8); Iowa City, Iowa (April 15); Pittsburgh, Pa.(April 23); Los Angeles, Calif. (April 29); and Baltimore, Md. (May 7). Pre-registration is required to attend or to speak. An EPA web site describing the National Agenda was launched on March 3, 2003 (http://www.epa.gov/aging) and a Federal Register notice ? which is available on the web site ? soliciting public comment was issued on March 4, 2003. Comments on the National Agenda on the Environment and the Aging will be accepted through Friday, May 16, 2003.

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Biodiversity Protection Plan Proposed; Comments Solicited

Contact: Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818 or hester.luke@epa.gov

EPA, as the lead agency for the United States, has developed the Strategic Plan for North American Cooperation in the Conservation of Biodiversity, in collaboration with Canada, Mexico and U.S. stakeholders. This is a long-term strategy for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) for the protection and management of shared biological resources in North America. The CEC is a tripartate (Canada, Mexico, United States) organization, which addresses cross border environmental issues in North America. Public comments on the plan are solicited by April 21, 2003. The draft is available at: http://www.cec.org/pubs_docs/documents/index.cfm?varlan=english&ID=1088 To submit comments on the Strategic Plan or to request additional information, contact Patrick Cotter, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2260R), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington D.C., 20460, phone (202) 564-6414, email cotter.patrick@epa.gov

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EPA Announces Electronics Recycling Drop-Off Event For Mid-Atlantic Government Employees

Contact: Dave Ryan 202-564-7827 or ryan.dave@epa.gov

Following up October's announcement of the results of the "eCycling" pilot project, the nation's first collaboration between multi-state government agencies and the electronics industry to offer citizens and small business opportunities to reuse and recycle old computer equipment, televisions and other electronic products, EPA is sponsoring an electronics drop-off collection event this Sat., March 22, in Lindenwold, N.J., (near Camden) from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. All citizens in the Philadelphia area are invited to bring in their privately-owned computers and other consumer electronics for recycling and reuse. The eCycling program helps prevent toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium from possibly endangering public health and the environment, and it saves precious landfill space. Launched in October 2001 out of EPA's Mid-Atlantic regional office in Philadelphia, eCycling officials evaluate different methods of collecting end-of-life electronics, compile data about the costs of collecting, transporting and processing electronics and help define the roles and responsibilities of government, consumers, electronics manufacturers, retailers and recyclers in recycling. Using funds so far totaling at least half a million dollars from EPA, the Mid-Atlantic states, manufacturers and members of the Electronic Industries Alliance, eCycling held 45 drop-off events in 31 counties during the pilot project, collecting over 2700 tons of used electronics from Mid-Atlantic residents, and preventing over 22,000 cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in televisions from entering the region's landfills and incinerators. (CRTs are a source of the hazardous substance lead.) These collection events will continue to raise awareness of the need to recycle and reuse unwanted electronics, and will further enable government agencies to lead by example. All recyclers in the eCycling program using federal government money must certify that equipment is recycled safely and will not be dismantled or managed overseas. As part of these drop-off events, government and industry share the cost to collect, transport, and process the equipment, and electronics manufacturers Panasonic, Sharp and Sony pay to recycle their respective brands of electronics. The Electronic Industries Alliance, headquartered in Arlington, Va., is a partnership of electronic and high-tech associations and companies whose mission is promoting the market development and competitiveness of the U.S. high-tech industry through domestic and international policy efforts. For more information about these special electronics collection events, see: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/eCycling.htm

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Enforcement Wrap-Up

Contact: Teresa Libera 202-564-7873 or libera.teresa@epa.gov

Utah Medical Waste Firm Owner Charged With Illegal Discharge to City Sewers

David I. Kali, former owner of Aseptic Services Inc., in Orem, Utah, was charged with violating state pretreatment standards for allegedly discharging wastes into publically owned sewage treatment systems. Aseptic Services accepted approximately 300 boxes per month of medical wastes from various federal medical facilities in Arizona, Utah and Idaho. The wastes were incinerated and produced "quenching fluid," which is a very caustic waste byproduct and contains chromium, lead and zinc. Aseptic Services allegedly then discharged this wastewater into the Orem City Sewers. The water container higher than permitted levels of chromium, lead and zinc and was extremely acidic, which then caused corrosion of the concrete sewer pipes downstream from the Aseptic Services facility. The charged was filed on March 10 in the Fourth Judicial District Court for Utah County. The case was investigated jointly by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Utah Attorney General's Office and the FBI with the assistance of the Orem Public Works Department; it will be prosecuted by the Utah Attorney General's Office. The bringing of charges is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

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