WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally proposed the removal of the solvent ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE) from the agency's list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) with publication of a notice in the Federal Register on Nov. 21. The agency set a Jan. 20 deadline for written comments on the proposal.

The EPA's action is being taken in response to a 1997 petition filed by the American Chemistry Council's Ethylene Glycol Ethers Panel. EGBE has been used as a coalescing solvent in various coatings formulations, including architectural, OEM and wood coatings. The EPA said reviews conducted on the proposed delisting indicate that EGBE does not cause cancer in humans at levels present in the air.

Tom Newsom, Solvents Business Products manager at Eastman Chemical Co., said a delisting of EGBE would be good news for suppliers and users. Alternatives are "generally more costly, and typically offer less performance efficiency," he said.

Written comments can be submitted electronically, by mail, or by hand delivery or courier. More information can be obtained by contacting the EPA's Kelly A. Rimer, phone 919/541.2962, e-mail rimer.kelly@epa.gov. Information, including the proposed delisting and the Federal Register notice, also is available on the EPA website located at www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg.