The Maine Air Toxics Initiative

In 2003, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection undertook the Maine Air Toxics Initiative (MATI) . MATI was a facilitated stakeholder process aimed at verifying whether or not federal risk assessment results seemed reasonable, and if so, the identification of which air toxics are the most responsible for creating health risks, and the creation of cost effective solutions to reduce the risk. This holistic assessment of air toxics risks, funded from an EPA Healthy Communities Grant, was to enable Maine to target available resources for maximum risk reduction. The ultimate goal of this project was to reduce exposure to acceptable levels of air toxics for all Maine citizens .

Phase I of the MATI process involved the creation of the Air Toxics Advisory Committee (ATAC), composed of community organizations, government organizations (local, state and federal), industrial organizations and environmental organizations having an interest in air toxics. The ATAC's first project was the development of the Air Toxics Priority List for Maine. The priority list is based on the ATAC's evaluation of existing data from ambient air monitoring programs, emissions inventories, chemical toxicity databases, and national air modeling.

Maine Air Toxics Priority List - Final (July 2007)
Rank
Pollutant or Pollutant Category
Rank
Pollutant or Pollutant Category
1
Polycyclic Organic Matter
15
Acetaldehyde

2

Naphthalene
16
Lead Compounds
3
Acrolein
17
Cadmium Compounds

4

Formaldehyde
18
Chloroform

5

Benzene
19
Manganese Compounds
6
Chromium Compounds
20
Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene)

7

Cobalt Compounds
21
Methyl Bromide
8
1,3-Butadiene
22
Carbon Tetrachloride
9
Sulfuric Acid
23
Dioxins and Furans
10
Diesel Particulate Matter
24
Hydrogen Sulfide
11
Nickel Compounds
25
Ethylene Dichloride (1,2-Dichloroethane)
12
Arsenic Compounds
26
Ethylene Dibromide (Dibromethane)
13
Particulate Matter from Nanotechnology
27
Mercury Compounds
14
Brominated Flame Retardants
 

For Phase II of the MATI, the ATAC appointed subcommittees to develop appropriate early actions and identify a long-term, targeted strategy with clear implementation goals and timeframes to reduce air toxics to acceptable levels. These strategies could include economic incentives; targeted, pollution prevention programs; voluntary programs; enhancement of existing regulatory programs; or no action at all. The three subcommittees were formed by the ATAC:

On June 26, 2007, the Air Toxics Advisory Committee met and reached agreement on recommended strategies to reduce air toxic emissions in Maine. The Department applied the ATAC recommendations to develop the Maine Air Toxics Strategy. The strategy maps out concrete goals, steps, resource allocations and timelines to achieve air toxics reductions. The plan includes provisions for continued gathering, analysis and communication of air toxics data.