Hazardous and Toxic Chemicals

The following five key laws specifically address hazardous and toxic chemicals.

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), Hazardous Air Emissions—This law addresses six specific chemicals (asbestos, beryllium, mercury, vinyl chloride, benzene, and arsenic) and one generic category (radionuclides) released into the air. Clear Water Act, Priority Pollutants—This act addresses 189 chemicals released into water including volatile substances such as benzene, chloroform, and vinyl chloride; acid compounds such as phenols and their derivatives; pesticides such as chlordane, dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), and toxaphene; heavy metals such as lead and mercury; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and other organic and inorganic compounds. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Hazardous Wastes—This act addresses more than 400 discarded commercial chemical products and specific chemical constituents of industrial chemical streams destined for disposal on land. Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III, Section 313: Toxic Substances—This act addresses more than 320 chemicals and chemical categories released into all three environmental media. Under specified conditions, facilities must report releases of these chemicals to the EPA's annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). SARA Section 302: Extremely Hazardous Substances— This act addresses more than 360 chemicals for which facilities must prepare emergency action plans if these chemicals are above certain threshold quantities. A release of these chemicals to air, land, or water requires a facility to report the release to the state emergency response committee (SERC) and the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) under SARA Section 304.

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