Junk Science Offers
Competitive Advantage

EPA is set to make even more stringent the lead emissions standard for cement kilns that burn hazardous wastes. Cement kiln operators burn hazardous waste as "energy recovery" -- a less expensive form of energy production. This also cuts down on hazardous waste disposal costs for hazardous waste producers.

In April 1997, EPA proposed to limit lead emissions from cement kilns to 670 micrograms per dry cubic meter (micrograms/dscm). According to EPA, this proposed level is safe. But now EPA will propose to set the limit at 100 micrograms/dscm. Why?

Supporting the new, more stringent proposal is the Environmental Technology Council--a business group that represents the commercial incineration industry. As a competitor of the cement kiln industry, the ETC wants EPA to set cement kiln emissions levels at the same level proposed for incinerators. Conveniently, this would put cement kilns out of the hazardous waste burning business because they cannot achieve lead emissions limits as low as 100 micrograms/dscm.

The basis for the more stringent emission level is a risk assessment conducted by the ETC and submitted to EPA that assumes that every child living within 20 kilometers of a hazardous waste burning cement kiln belongs to subsistence farming families--living off crops and livestock raised near their homes. But even EPA acknowledges that subsistence farming around cement kilns is "hypothetical." What a combination--junk science and cutthroat competition.

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Copyright © 1998 Steven J. Milloy. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by WestLake Solutions, Inc.