The Hazards of Air Emissions and How to Help Prevent Them

The Hazards of Air Emissions and How to Help Prevent Them

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to establish air quality standards to protect public health and the environment and tracks the emissions from the sources of these pollutants, including how much of each pollutant (or the pollutants that form them) is emitted from various pollution sources.

Since implementation of the Clean Air Act of 1970 people across the country breathe healthier air because of much lower concentrations of carbon monoxide, acidic gases of sulfur and nitrogen, lead, particulates, and ozone.

Hazardous Air Pollutants

But what about industries where pollutants can cause much more damage and on a much larger scale? Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) are those pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental effects. The EPA has designated 188 compounds as HAPs, the sources of which come mainly from human activities, such as mobile sources (cars, trucks, trains, etc.), stationary sources (large industrial polluters), and area sources (small businesses, cleaning products, paints, small gas engines), and sporadically from natural sources, such as forest fires.

HAPs have their own standards: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) are stationary source standards for hazardous air pollutants. The EPA has issued rules covering over 80 categories of major industrial sources, such as chemical plants, oil refineries, aerospace manufacturers, and steel mills, as well as categories of smaller sources, such as dry cleaners, commercial sterilizers, secondary lead smelters, and chromium electroplating facilities.

These standards are projected to reduce annual air toxics emissions by about 1.5 million tons.

The regulations are in place to protect people and the community against harmful toxins and their effects. It is up to every employer to ensure their workers know the best work practices for compliance with these regulations, as well as have an understanding as to why these regulations are in place.

Summit Can Help Prevent HAPs

If you need training on HAPs, then look no further. Summit’s online Air Emissions HAP Prevention training program clearly defines specific environmental regulations pertaining to emissions. Ideal for all employees who operate equipment or processes that can effect emissions, this dynamic program covers: definition of air emissions, the broad impact regulations have on a facility, and measures employees can take to help ensure environmental compliance.

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