Mercury and other chemicals flowing into these communities are health hazards for children, pregnant mothers, local residents and workers - people who deserve protection. Mercury in the air eventually deposits into water, where it changes into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish. Americans are primarily exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish. Because the developing fetus is the most sensitive to the toxic effects of methylmercury, women of childbearing age and children are regarded as the population of greatest concern.
The majority of the toxic emissions at cement kilns come from the burning of fuels and heating of raw materials. When fully implemented in 2013, EPA estimates that this rule would reduce annual emissions by at least: · Mercury – 11,600 pounds, a reduction of 81 percent · Total hydrocarbons – 11,700 tons, or 75 percent · Particulate matter – 10,500 tons, or 96 percent · Hydrochloric acid – 2,800 tons, or 94 percent · Sulfur dioxide – 160,000 tons, or 90 percent EPA estimates the benefits of this proposed rule will significantly outweigh costs.
The proposal is in response to a request to reconsider the December 2006 emissions standards for Portland cement manufacturing facilities. EPA will take public comments on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposal if one is requested. Hearing requests must be received within 15 days of publication in the Federal Register. More information