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EPA's Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic Pollutants Initiative (PBT) has released its 1999 PBTI Accomplishments Report highlighting the major activities the agency implemented through its first year to address PBTs and to reduce their production, use and releases nationwide.
These pollutants, including mercury, PCBs and dioxin among others, are highly toxic, long-lasting substances that can build up in the food chain to levels that are harmful to humans and ecosystems.
PBTs are associated with a range of adverse human health effects, including the nervous system reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, and genetic impacts. Reducing risks from PBTs presents a challenge to the agency because of the pollutants ability to travel long distances, move easily from air to water or land and linger for generations in people and the environment. The PBT Initiative employs a pollution prevention approach, but also recognizes treatment and remediation may also be necessary to protect public health and the environment.
Development of an agency-wide strategy has enabled EPA to utilize all of its tools -- voluntary, regulatory, international, enforcement, compliance and research to focus on a set of priority pollutants of common concern to all EPA program offices. The report is available at the PBTI web site at http://www.epa.gov/pbt/accomp99.htm. A limited number of hard copies will be available from the Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse at 202-260-0123.
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency