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Solvents generally are subject to a wide variety of federal and state regulations governing their manufacture, processing, distribution, use and disposal. These include regulations governing the storage and disposal of hazardous wastes, workplace exposure limits, requirements for the safe transport of chemical substances, and regulations pertaining to the release of chemicals to environmental media, including air, land, and water. This section focuses on federal programs that regulate emissions of solvents to air, with a particular emphasis on programs designed to reduce emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and listed hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Because these programs can have a significant impact on solvent users, it is important to understand how these programs work.
While this regulatory section focuses on federal programs, it also highlights a few, selected state programs that affect solvents. Solvent users may be affected by additional state-specific programs, depending on their locations. To learn more about regulatory requirements in a particular area, solvent users should contact the appropriate state or local government agency.
Federal Regulations—Clean Air Regulatory Programs
The Clean Air Act deals with a variety of air-related environmental concerns, including acid rain, hazardous air pollutants, visibility in national parks, depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, and formation of ground-level ozone. This section focuses on two types of air programs—those that address ground-level ozone formation, and those that regulate air releases of listed hazardous air pollutants, or HAPs.
Federal and state permitting programs are not discussed here. Solvent users should be aware that permitting programs can impose substantial record-keeping and reporting requirements.
Most states operate their own air toxics programs. Additionally, most VOC regulations are established by state or local authorities, often pursuant to guidance issued by EPA. Also, many states manage their own emergency planning and community right-to-know programs analogous to the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Examples of some of these state programs and regulatory requirements are presented below: