(CemWeek.com 2-8-10) While the U.S. EPA claims recycling fly ash is a 'national priority,' environmental groups fight to gain 'hazardous' and 'toxic' labels for the waste product. The debate over fly ash continues as the EPA struggles to overcome environmental groups' very public labels for fly ash and gain industrial acceptance for the waste product. Salt River Materials Group reports that the EPA “promotes recycling fly ash and other byproducts of coal combustion through its Coal Combustion Products Partnership.”
However, environmentalists against coal-fired power “are pressuring the EPA to label fly ash and other coal combustion byproducts 'hazardous' and 'toxic' against overwhelming evidence to the contrary,” explains the Salt River Materials Group, This became especially true after the coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008, when national reports latched on to such labels.
After that spill, AECOM's senior toxicologist Lisa Bradley released a statement that confirmed that while certain conditions could cause fly ash to be considered toxic, “to characterize fly ash or other coal combustion byproducts as 'toxic' or 'hazardous' in all cases is misleading.”
Furthermore, the EPA believes that allowing such labels would cause hesitation by companies looking to use the recyclable byproduct. In October, the EPA ruled fly ash and other coal combustion byproducts do not fall under hazardous waste regulations. Since then, “over 117 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions have been avoided, and over 400 million tons of coal combustion byproducts have been recycled,” the Salt River Materials Group confirms.
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