White House Launches EPA Vapor Intrusion Rule Review

An EPA final rule to add vapor intrusion to superfund listing criteria now is under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The rule would give the EPA authority to consider vapor intrusion, the process of volatile compounds migrating through subsurface groundwater or soil to air in aboveground structures, when determining whether to add a contaminated site to the superfund program's National Priorities List.

The OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs received the rule (RIN:2050-AG67) Sept. 2, according to its website.

Vapor intrusion exposure to humans can cause a range of health problems depending on the particular chemicals resting below the surface. The machine parts degreaser trichloroethylene, for instance, is suspected of inducing cardiac birth defects through vapor intrusion, according to the EPA and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The final rule would add that pathway to the EPA’s Hazard Ranking System, a metric to evaluate National Priority List designations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

The White House in recent months predicted public release of the final rule by January 2017. The OMB vetting process generally is restricted to three months, but that deadline often is skipped.The proposal didn’t generate controversy in contrast to many EPA rules.

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