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New Standards for Cancer-Causing Chemicals Established by EPA

— April 29, 2024

The federal agency has issues new protocols for reducing toxic admissions.

One of the many risks that humans face as a result of living in the modern, industrial world is cancer-causing chemicals found in air pollution. Where once the air outdoors would always be safe and fresh for all to breathe, that is not the case today. Due to chemical pollution from industrial plants, the air in some places can contribute in a meaningful way to the cancer risk that many people face.

To help address that issue, the EPA has updated the standards that it has in place for some of the chemicals that plants distribute into the air. By regulating these emissions and cutting back on how much of a pollutant can be released, it is hoped that air quality in many places will improve, and health risks will be diminished.

While there are plenty of harmful, nasty chemicals that can be distributed into the air as a result of the operations at industrial plants, ethylene oxide is particularly concerning. There are some extremely serious conditions that can result from exposure to ethylene oxide, including leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, and more. Obviously, any of those would be a life-changing experience for an individual, so no one should be placed at any higher risk as a result of living near plants that deal with chemicals.

New Standards for Cancer-Causing Chemicals Established by EPA
Photo by Elīna Arāja from Pexels

As a result of the new regulations, it is expected that emissions of ethylene oxide could be reduced by as much as 80%. It would be great if that number of 100%, of course, but an 80% reduction may be enough to significantly reduce the risk for the people living in the areas near where these emissions are dumped into the atmosphere.

Part of this change to the regulations includes the requirement that companies add monitoring devices at the fence lines of their properties to measure for chemicals in the air. Not only that, but the information from those measurements is required to be published online for the general public to freely access. If the levels that are measured at the fence line cross certain thresholds, changes will be required to bring down the level of pollutants.

Some of the credit for these changes is owed to those who are fighting for equality and the right for everyone to breathe clean air. Traditionally, poor air quality is an issue that impacts those in lower-income communities more than it does upper-class neighborhoods. The areas that are downwind from large industrial plants tend to be lower-income housing and are often occupied largely by minority groups. Cleaning up the air that is dumped into the atmosphere by these plants will help to create better health outcomes for those areas.

These new EPA standards certainly won’t mean the end of air pollution concerns, and damage that has been done in certain areas won’t be resolved overnight. It is a good starting point, however, and hopefully will lead to further progress in the future to gradually restore the health of the air that everyone breathes and improve equality across different communities.


EPA Finalizes New Standards for Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Biden-Harris Administration Finalizes Stronger Clean Air Standards for Chemical Plants, Lowering Cancer Risk and Advancing Environmental Justice

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