Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Airborne Toxic Chemicals

  • April HiscoxEmail author
  • Mark MacaudaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_47

Definition of the Subject and Its Importance

“Air toxics ” is a term that is often used colloquially, but for the purposes of this article it will be used following the specific definition set forth by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Toxic (or Hazardous) air pollutants are those pollutants that are known or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health effects [1]. Air toxics are defined by the Clean Air Act , which explains what pollutants qualify, how different sources are categorized, and how they are to be regulated [2]. The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the most comprehensive modern legislation concerning air quality in the USA. The original 1970 Act defines “Hazardous Air Pollutants” (HAPS) or air toxics as those substances known or suspected of causing cancer, birth defects, or other adverse health problems. It charges the EPA to “Significantly reduce emissions of the most potent air pollutants” [2]. Initially, the Clean Air Act listed 189 chemicals as toxics;...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyThe University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Health Promotion, Education, and BehaviorUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA