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Air Toxics 
    Top 10 Air Toxics In Vermont
    Health Concerns
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    Air Toxics Monitoring
    Air Toxics Report
    Reduction Efforts
    What You Can Do
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    1996 NATA Information
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Air Toxics Program

What Are Air Toxics?

"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 several reduction 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 Information.

 

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Last Updated: 1/22/03

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