May 2, 2003
groundbreaking negotiation process with industry, environmentalists and others,
the Southland’s air quality agency today adopted the toughest measures in the
nation to significantly reduce toxic emissions from the region’s metal plating
“These rules will reduce
the cancer risk to residents, including those in low-income and minority
neighborhoods,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air
Quality Management District.
AQMD’s Governing Board
today unanimously adopted an amendment to the agency’s existing Rule 1469, which
limits emissions of the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium from metal plating
and anodizing shops. The Board also adopted a new regulation, Rule 1426,
requiring other plating facilities to adopt good operating practices and collect
emissions data for two years so that AQMD can evaluate whether additional air
pollution controls are needed.
Rule 1469 will affect
about 130 chrome plating shops and will reduce hexavalent chromium emissions by
90 percent, making it the toughest such requirement in the nation. Hexavalent
chromium is a potent, known human carcinogen.
Most metal platers are
small businesses serving automotive, computer, electronics, defense and
industrial equipment industries. Metal plating shops use electric current to
deposit a layer of chrome or other metals on parts to improve their durability
and protect them from corrosion.
Facilities will be
required to take certain steps to reduce their emissions, such as following good
operating practices, using a chemical to reduce hexavalent chromium fumes from
plating tanks and in some cases adding high-efficiency particulate filters.
Shops within 25 meters of the nearest residence or 100 meters of the nearest
school will face the strictest set of requirements.
The rule will cost the
region’s metal plating industry about $2 million a year.
Today’s regulations were
adopted following an 18-month process of formal negotiations between AQMD and
representatives of metal plating shops, environmental and community groups and
other air quality agencies. The successful negotiation process was conducted
for the first time as a result of a 2002 Governing Board initiative.
In other action today,
- Approved $453,500 to exchange 1,500 gas-powered mowers for
non-polluting electric models at two events in Riverside and Orange counties;
- Received a status report on a program to develop portable air
quality monitors for residents’ use in neighborhoods when air pollution
violations or nuisances are suspected.
AQMD is the air
pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles,
San Bernardino and Riverside counties.