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USA: Johns Manville free of Clean Air Act controls

Fiber glass insulation producer Johns Manville has been informed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it is now exempt from Clean Air Act restrictions on ordinary fiber glas…

Fiber glass insulation producer Johns Manville has been informed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it is now exempt from Clean Air Act restrictions on ordinary fiber glass facilities. The decision comes as a result of Johns Manville“s switch from manufacturing formaldehyde-bonded fiber glass insulation to the use of an alternative acrylic binder. EPA determined that Johns Manville manufacturing facilities are no longer subject to the Clean Air Act hazardous air pollutant regulation (40 CFR Part 63, subpart NNN). In a letter from Kenneth Eng with the Air Compliance Branch of US EPA“s Region II office, EPA has found that the Clean Air Act restrictions on ordinary fiber glass manufacturing facilities no longer apply to Johns Manville plants. “Based on the information provided by Johns Manville, including data demonstrating the switch to the acrylic binder eliminates all binder-related emissions of formaldehyde, phenol, and methanol, the principal hazardous pollutants (HAPS) regulated in Subpart NNN, EPA finds that Johns Manville no longer meets the definition of an affected facility and is no longer subject to Subpart NNN,” reads an excerpt from Eng“s letter. In March 2002, Johns Manville became the first fiber glass insulation manufacturer to cease adding formaldehyde to building insulation as a binder and began using an acrylic binder that eliminates all binder-related emissions of formaldehyde. The acrylic binder also addresses worries about formaldehyde in the indoor environment once installed. “At Johns Manville, we are committed to improving environmental and indoor air quality,” said Noel Camp, manager of health, safety and environment for the Global Insulation Division at Johns Manville. “We are very proud to be the first and only fiber glass manufacturer to receive notice from the EPA that the Clean Air Act regulations for the rest of industry no longer apply to our manufacturing facilities due to our decision to utilize a safe alternative to formaldehyde.” The Clean Air Act is a United States federal law that originally came into effect in 1970 in order to improve air quality, including the air quality around fiber glass plants. In 1990 the Act was amended to limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants such as the formaldehyde, phenol, and methanol emitted by plants that make ordinary fiber glass. Ordinary fiber glass manufacturing plants must comply with the Title III restrictions in the hazardous air pollutant regulation (40 CFR Part 63, subpart NNN) and typically install extensive pollution control equipment in order to meet these hazardous air pollutant standards. This equipment uses considerable amounts of energy and may generate large quantities of green house gases. “Rather than using brute force to try to remove these hazardous air pollutants after they are generated, Johns Manville chose instead to simply eliminate them,” said Camp.

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