Idaho Environmental Guide for Local Governments: Toxic Air Pollutants
Toxic air pollutants are known or suspected to cause serious health problems such as cancer, birth defects, lung damage, and nerve damage. Examples of air toxics include asbestos, benzene, chloroform, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, nickel compounds, and perchloroethylene.
Why Communities Should Care
- Local governments should have an understanding of the following so that long-term strategic decisions can be made about projects and how they may impact a community:
- Types of air toxics associated with a project
- Regulation of air toxics by local, state, and federal agencies
- Potential exemptions from state and federal regulations
- Local governments have the authority to implement ordinances that help prevent the release of air toxics beyond state and federal laws and regulations. Determine what is best for the health and welfare of the community.
What Communities Can Do
- Prior to approval, projects should be assessed for potential issues with air toxics, which may include the following:
- Hazardous Air Pollutants
- After project assessment, evaluate the potential impact to the community and develop management plans.
- Plan ahead. These activities can reduce emissions of air pollutants, including air toxics:
- Encourage employees and citizens to drive less. Many air toxics, like benzene, come from motor vehicle exhaust. Encourage carpooling, use public transportation, combine trips, avoid drive-throughs, drive the speed limit, and keep your vehicle well tuned and in proper working condition.
- Provide alternatives to open burning of trash, leaves, or other yard wastes by implementing a community compost or wood recycling program. Provide alternatives to burning of plastics by offering a community recycling program.
- Avoid using products containing toxic compounds and encourage community members to do the same.