EPA is issuing a final rule that encourages the use of solvents that don’t significantly contribute to ground-level ozone, the agency says in a recent press release. Two chemicals used in solvents, propylene carbonate and dimethyl carbonate, no longer need to be regulated as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) under the Clean Air Act. Extensive scientific reviews indicate these chemicals have little or no effect on forming smog or ground-level ozone. By excluding these chemicals, states will be able to focus on controlling other emissions that more significantly contribute to ozone.

Areas with ozone air pollution levels that exceed national ambient air quality standards must develop state implementation plans that include strategies for reducing ground-level ozone. These plans may include VOC emission limits.

Exposure to ground-level ozone can cause serious respiratory illness including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. Ground-level ozone also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue.

For more information, visithttp://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t1fs.html