EPA Revises Risk Analysis for Industrial Wipes

There are potential health risks for some solvents, depending on the types of landfills in which wipes contaminated with them are disposed, said the agency, which seeks comments on its revised analysis.

Responding to comments received when it proposed the Solvent-Contaminated Industrial Wipes Rule in 2003, EPA has developed a revised risk analysis. The rule is meant to improve the clarity and consistency of the regulations for wipes and also reduce the costs of compliance while maintaining the same level of protection for the environment. And now EPA is accepting comments for 60 days on the revised analysis.

The revised risk analysis, which was peer reviewed, includes updated data and information, including the use of a newly developed landfill model. The revised risk analysis shows that 8 of the 20 solvents evaluated could pose a potential health risk if disposed of in an unlined municipal solid waste landfill. The revised risk analysis also shows one (tetrachloroethylene) of the 20 solvents evaluated has a potential health risk if the wipes or laundry sludge are disposed in a composite-lined landfill.

In 2003, EPA proposed to conditionally exclude from the definition of hazardous waste disposable industrial wipes that are contaminated with hazardous solvents and are going to disposal. The agency also proposed to conditionally exclude from the definition of solid waste reusable industrial shop towels and rags that are contaminated with hazardous solvents and are sent for cleaning.

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