Are Air Toxics?
is a term that refers to the 188 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs)
listed in the Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1990 that are known or
suspected of causing cancer or other serious health
effects. The pollutants listed as HAPs include industrial
chemicals, solvents, metals, pesticides, and combustion by-products.
There is growing concern nationally over levels of hazardous
air pollutants in the air. In Vermont we share this concern
and have spent the past few years characterizing the air toxics
problem. A comprehensive analysis of Vermont's air toxics
pollution is available in the air
toxics report. In particular, there are seven air
toxics that exceed health-based standards nationwide, including
Vermont. This website was designed to help inform citizens
about toxic air pollutants and how they affect human health
and the environment.
How Do We Know
There Is A Problem?
Here in Vermont
we take pride in our beautiful natural surroundings and we want
to keep them beautiful. Yet, we take clean air for granted. Recent
information from both the state's air toxics monitoring program
and a national study (NATA)
show that hazardous air pollutants or "air toxics"
exist in our air at potentially unsafe levels. Air toxics come
from a variety of sources including automobiles and diesel trucks,
small sources such as gas stations, home heating and dry cleaners,
and industrial sources. Technology is in place to help control
these sources, but citizens need to have a basic understanding
of how the technology works so they can take an active role
in helping to solve the problem.
What is the State
Doing to Solve This Problem?
Vermont has implemented
efforts to control the emission of air toxics into the
atmosphere. These efforts include a
gasoline vapor recovery program, an inspection and maintenance
program, and a low emission vehicle program. In addition, Vermont
state law prohibits the open burning of household refuse and construction
debris. Vermont also has a comprehensive air pollution permitting
program that places stringent limitations on emissions coming from
manufacturing sources and utilities. Additionally, Vermont requires
most point sources to register
their annual Hazardous Air Contaminants (HAC) emissions with the
Air Quality & Climate Division (AQCD) (see Appendices B & C
of Air Regulations for list of
HACs). This enables the AQCD to estimate the total emissions of
toxic pollutants to the atmosphere in Vermont annually and identify
sources of concern.
What Can Citizens
Do to Help?
There are many
things citizens can do to help reduce the amount of air toxics
released into the atmosphere. The best way to get started is
to become informed. Understanding which home heating systems,
automobiles, and consumer products emit the least amount of
hazardous air pollution will help you make choices for cleaner
air. Understanding how vapor recovery control systems work and
choosing filling stations that use this technology will reduce
the amount of toxics released into the air. Simply reducing
consumption of gasoline and other fossil fuels is a tremendous
help. For more tips check out What
You Can Do.
How can I learn
more - related sites
There are several
organizations located across the country with active programs
studying air toxics. To access their websites look at Related
Last Updated: 1/22/03