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January 5, 2022

After 30 Years, EPA Finally Adds to Hazardous Air Pollutant List

1-BP is carcinogenic and can cause reproductive, neurological, and chronic health harms

Contacts

Erin Fitzgerald, efitzgerald@earthjustice.org

Washington, D.C.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published notice in the Federal Register they would be adding 1-bromopropane, also known as 1-BP, to their list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) designation. Under a provision of the Clean Air Act, Congress granted EPA the ability to add other pollutants to that list. However, in the 30 years since, the agency has never once taken the opportunity to do so.

The chemical 1-BP is a volatile liquid solvent released into the air when used and has many common commercial applications, including commercial degreasing products, adhesive, and sealant products such as spray adhesives, and is used in the dry-cleaning process. It is known to cause serious and acute chronic health human impacts. Scientific evidence has shown 1-BP can cause neurological harm, be carcinogenic and a reproductive toxicant, and lead to chronic health problems. The chemical is heavily used in industrial areas and around one million pounds are emitted into the air every year.

“The listing of 1-BP is a historic first: the first new HAP in over thirty years, ensuring that communities across the country will be protected from the widespread use of this toxic chemical,” said Earthjustice attorney Tosh Sagar. “But EPA can't let this first be the last. There are a number of obvious toxic air pollutants that need to be regulated — such as PFAS — and EPA should move swiftly to protect the public from the full range of air toxics.”

Earthjustice sued the Trump Administration in 2020 on behalf of California Communities Against Toxics, GASP, and the Sierra Club to compel the agency to heed scientific evidence and add 1-BP to the HAPs list. Prior to that, Earthjustice submitted comments to the EPA on behalf of Sierra Club, California Communities Against Toxics, GASP, and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation in support of the agency adding 1-BP to the HAPs list.

Quotes from our Clients:

“Releases of the toxic chemical, 1-bromopropane, are damaging the health of dozens of communities across the U.S.; we applaud the EPA’s final action to list this chemical as a hazardous air pollutant,” said Jane Williams, executive director of California Communities Against Toxics. “It is the first time a new HAP has been added to the list established under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments since their passage over thirty years ago.”

“GASP commends the EPA for acting to protect the health and well-being of folks across the country who live near facilities that emit this toxic pollutant,” said Michael Hansen, executive director of GASP. “ This will help make neighborhoods right here in Birmingham safer places to live and work.”

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