Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)
Absalom, Sandra T.
Bromine, pp. 131-137 ff. PDF (920.6 KB)
Bromine By Sandra T. Absalom1 Elemental bromine sold or used by U.S. producers returned to the rising trend in annual growth experienced prior to 1977. Expanding foreign markets and the changing composition of the domestic market were the important factors affecting U.S. production, which was centered in the State of Arkansas,' with additional production in Michigan. The primary manufacturers of brominated compounds operated plants in Arkansas, Michigan, and Texas. One of them, however, discontinued its Michigan operation in 1978. Primary producers' sales of all types of bromine compounds increased, although demand for the industry's major product, ethylene dibromide, as a leadedgasoline additive continued to fall with the Government-regulated decline in use of leaded gasoline. As laboratory tests were completed on several potentially harmful bromine compounds, Federal regulatory agencies acted in accordance with significant test results. Legislation and Government Programs.—The Interagency Regulatory Liaison Group (IRLG), which is composed of Federal regulatory agencies, took an important step to coordinate the attack on potentially hazardous chemicals and other substances. The original member agencies (Consumer Product Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Drug Administration, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration) formed IRLG in 1977 to share individual research, data, and analyses; avoid duplicative regulations; and attempt to set consistent standards to control hazards. In 1978, the group released a list of 24 compounds, or categories of substances, targeted for special attention.2 Three brominated organic compounds were included on the list: Dibromochloropropane, an insecticide; ethylene dibromide, a gasoline additive and pesticide; and polybrominated biphenyls, the industrial fire retardant that in 1973 was accidentally mixed with cattle feed in Michigan. In 1979, IRLG drafted guidelines for uniform testing among Federal agencies for five ill effects to humans that could be caused by potentially harmful chemicals.~ The IRLG goal is to develop a single set of tests to replace the different tests the agencies now use to determine the same ill effects. These effects cover acute inhalation, birth defects, acute oral toxicity, acute eye irritation, and acute skin effects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued final rules in 1978 for workplace exposure to dibromochloropropane (DBCP).4 The compound has been linked to worker sterility in several chemical plants and also was labeled a possible carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).~ The final exposure limit of 1 part per billion (ppb) averaged over an 5hour workday is 10 times stricter than the 10-ppb emergency temporary standard ordered by OSHA in 1977. The final standard also prohibits eye and skin contact with the agricultural insecticide. Following the recommendation in 1979 of an administra~ tive law judge, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all applications of DBCP except in Hawaiian pineapple groves.6 Other agricultural uses of DBCP will be suspended indefmitely while further research is conducted. EPA issued its final rule extending the compliance deadline for reducing the amount of lead antiknock compounds in gasoline.~ The rule delays the agency's deadline for a 0.5-gram-per-gallon limit on lead in gasoline from October 1979 to October 1980; however, refmers must comply with certain requirements on gasoline production to qualify for the extension. Increased use of low-lead and unleaded gasoline will reduce domestic consumption of ethylene dibromide (EDB), which is used primarily as a scavenger for lead added to gasoline in antiknock compounds. 131
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