July 2, 2015
On June 8, 2015 California’s officials for the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the air quality regulator for the Greater Los Angeles Basin, approved new rules after state officials issued guidelines saying the cancer risk from air toxic chemicals is almost three times higher than what was previously thought, the Los Angeles Times reports. Air Toxics are also known as Hazardous Air Pollutants or HAPS.
Dozens of Southern California facilities, including oil refineries, aerospace plants and metal factories, will face new requirements to reduce toxic emissions or notify their neighbors of the health risks from their operations under rules approved by SCAQMD officials. The air district’s current rules govern about 400 facilities across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties that emit some of the Environmental Protection Agency’s original 187 Hazardous Air Pollutants such as arsenic, benzene and toxic metals that put surrounding residents at increased risk of cancer and other health problems. For 25 years, those facilities have been studied and monitored under the state’s Air Toxics Hot Spots program.
When cancer risk at one of those facilities exceeds 10 in 1 million, the operator is required to notify neighbors and hold public meetings. If the risk reaches 25 in 1 million, the facility must take steps to reduce emissions. A level of 25 in 1 million means that air pollution from the facility could result in 25 cancer cases per 1 million people over a 30-year period.
Under the new rules, about 87 of those 400 facilities will have to complete additional health-risk assessments, 42 will have to issue public notifications and 22 may have to reduce cancer risk by cutting their emissions, according to SCAQMD estimates.
The state’s revised air toxics guidelines resulted from scientific studies over the last decade that show young children and infants are more sensitive to toxic air pollutants than previously thought.
More than 30 other pollution-control districts in California are making similar changes to air toxics rules to implement the new California Air Resources Board (CARB) Risk Management Guidelines for Stationary Sources of Air Toxics. Several hundred facilities across the state could face additional pollution-control and notification requirements, according CARB.
What this means to you
California officials have issued guidelines saying the cancer risk from air toxic chemicals is almost three times higher than what was previously thought. Dozens of Los Angeles Basin facilities will face new requirements to reduce toxic emissions or notify their neighbors of the health risks from their operations. More than 30 other California pollution control districts are making similar changes to their air toxics rules.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to learn more about air toxic (hazardous air pollutant or HAPS) control.