WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed the deletion of the solvent methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) from the agency's list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and is accepting written comments on the proposal through Aug. 28.

The EPA said the plan to remove MEK from the HAP list is based on an initial determination that the compound is not believed to cause adverse human health or environmental effects.

The EPA's action is being taken in response to a petition submitted by the Ketones Panel of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) on behalf of MEK producers and consumers.

Comments may be submitted online at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.epa.gov/edocket/. Written comments sent by U.S. mail should be submitted (in duplicate if possible) to: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center (Mail Code 6102T), Attention Docket Number A-98-44, Room B108, U.S. EPA, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460.

MEK is described as a low-boiling point, highly volatile, highly flammable liquid that is very soluble in water and miscible in organic solvents, and offers exceptionally high solvent powers for many natural and synthetic resins. Coatings-solvent uses include vinyl lacquers, nitrocellulose lacquers and acrylics.

More information on the proposed MEK delisting is available on the EPA website located at www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/ eparules.html.