US PVC industry supports proposed EPA rule, asks to consider options

07 June 2011 23:31  [Source: ICIS news]

A PVC pipe sculptureHOUSTON (ICIS)--US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) industry representatives on Tuesday voiced support for a proposed rule regulating emissions from plants, but asked the federal environmental agency to consider flexible options for the numerous varieties of the resin.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule on April 15 to update the emission limits from PVC producers in the US. A hearing on the proposal was held on Tuesday in Houston, Texas.

The proposed rule would limit emissions from a range of production sources, such as PVC process vents, wastewater and storage vessels. The rule would also set standards for equipment leaks.  

The emission limits apply for hazardous air pollutants, and specifically, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), chlorinated di-benzo dioxins and furans and hydrogen chloride.

The proposed ruling is more comprehensive than a 2002 rule.

Allen Blakey, vice president of the Vinyl Institute trade association, said the industry supports the rule and has long followed regulatory standards.

“We are concerned that EPA get this rule right,” he said. “Regulation is important and necessary, but as Congress intended for the Clean Air Act, other considerations matter, too.”

The Vinyl Institute recommended that the EPA consider the variability of emissions, given the industry’s wide array of resin products, as well as the seasonality of production rates.

Formosa Plastics USA representative Mary Bachynsky, an air programmes and permits manager, also reiterated the wide range of specifications in which PVC can be produced, differing in particle size, mechanical stability and heat stability, and the need for the EPA to consider the varieties.

“The PVC industry needs regulatory flexibility in order to produce a full complement of PVC products,” she said.

Otis Sistrunk, a safety, health and environment manager of PolyOne, a major PVC compounder and specialty resin producer, said the company agreed with the proposed standards but requested a distinct subcategory be created for suspension-blending resins, which are used often in flooring, automotive interiors and synthetic leather.

Bruce Hollands, executive director of Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association, said PVC pipes hold far greater advantages over metal pipes in terms of public health and safety, durability and non-corrosiveness.

Written comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until 19 July. The final rule is expected to be signed by 13 January, 2012.

Another public hearing is scheduled to be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Thursday.

Major US PVC producers include Shintech, Formosa Plastics, Westlake, Oxy Vinyls and Georgia Gulf.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
For more on polyvinyl chloride visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Ruth Liao
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