WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency will issue guidelines requiring cities to curb air pollution by installing sophisticated anti-pollution devices on waste incinerators, an agency official said Wednesday.
J. Winston Porter, assistant administrator for solid waste, said the agency would begin by requiring that new plants be built with the "best available technology" for scrubbing or removing pollutants from the gases emitted by the burners.
By November, 1989, states must produce plans for retrofitting the 111 existing municipal incinerators with the anti-pollution equipment, Porter said.
An agency study of the emissions from municipal plants found that they release a number of carcinogenic and toxic substances into the air, and that 90% of the cancer risk comes from dioxins.
Porter said emissions from the plants could cause as many as 38 cancer deaths a year in the United States, assuming people living within a 30-mile radius of the plants breathe the incinerator fumes their whole lives. With the scrubbers, or electrostatic precipitators, on new plants, the risk would be cut to less than one cancer death a year, he said.