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EPA/OAR RIN: 2060-AU37 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Ethylene Oxide Commercial Sterilization and Fumigation Operations 

In December 1994, pursuant to section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act, EPA promulgated the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Ethylene Oxide (EtO) Commercial Sterilization and Fumigation Operations (59 FR 62585). The NESHAP established standards for both major and area sources. EPA completed a residual risk and technology review for the NESHAP in 2006 and, at that time, concluded that no revisions to the standards were necessary. In this action, EPA will conduct the second technology review for the NESHAP, as required by law, and consider potential updates to the rule. To aid in this effort, EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that solicited comment from stakeholders, undertook a Small Business Advocacy Review panel, which is needed when there is the potential for significant economic impacts to small businesses from any regulatory actions being considered, and has conducted outreach meetings within the communities affected by the highest-risk facilities as part of the development of this action. These meetings involved informing community members of the risk from EtO emissions and explaining how they can be involved in the rule writing process. EPA also held a national webinar on this proposal. Accommodations were made for Spanish-language speaking communities, which are disproportionately affected by these EtO emissions. This proposal also reflects feedback EPA has received from representatives from local and state governments. For more information, please visit

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Section 3(f)(1) Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 63, subpart O     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7607(d)    42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) released in August 2018 identified ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions as a potential concern in several areas across the country. The latest NATA estimates that EtO significantly contributes to potential elevated cancer risks in some census tracts. These elevated risks are largely driven by an EPA risk value that was updated in December 2016. Further investigation on NATA inputs and results led to the EPA identifying commercial sterilization using EtO as a source category contributing to some of these risks. Over the past two years, the EPA has been gathering additional information to help evaluate opportunities to reduce EtO emissions in this source category through potential NESHAP revisions. In this rule, EPA will address EtO emissions from commercial sterilizers.

Summary of the Legal Basis: CAA section 112, 42 U.S.C. 7412, provides the legal framework and basis for regulatory actions addressing emissions of hazardous air pollutants from stationary sources. CAA section 112(d)(6) requires EPA to review, and revise as necessary, emission standards promulgated under CAA section 112(d) at least every 8 years, considering developments in practices, processes, and control technologies.

Alternatives: EPA is evaluating various options for reducing EtO emissions from commercial sterilizers under the NESHAP, such as pollution control equipment, reducing fugitive emissions, or monitoring.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Based on conversations with regulated entities who have been working to reduce emissions, the potential costs of controlling some emissions sources could be substantial.

Risks: As part of this rulemaking, EPA has been updating information regarding EtO emissions and the specific emission points within the source category. Preliminary analyses suggest that fugitive emissions from commercial sterilizers may substantially contribute to health risks associated with exposure to EtO.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  12/12/2019  84 FR 67889   
NPRM  04/13/2023  88 FR 22790   
NPRM Comment Period End  06/12/2023 
Final Rule  03/00/2024 
Additional Information: EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0178.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Sectors Affected: 311423 Dried and Dehydrated Food Manufacturing; 311942 Spice and Extract Manufacturing; 325412 Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing; 33911 Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing; 561910 Packaging and Labeling Services 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Jon Witt
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Air and Radiation
109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Mail Code E143-05,
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Phone:919 541-5645

Kusondra King
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Air and Radiation
Research Triangle Park, NC 27711
Phone:919 541-4373