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)
132 MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1978-79 "Preliminary.' Data do not add to total shown because of independent rounding. OSHA reportedly was considering making the workplace standard for EDB more stringent, and EPA was considering restricting its use as a pesticide.~ These proposals followed the announcement by NCI that EDB proved to be a potent carcinogen in ingestion tests conducted on rats and mice.~ The Dow Chemical Co. and Ethyl Corp., producers of EDB, disputed the validity of the test procedures and the extrapolation of results to humans. They contend that actual industrial experience does not agree with the laboratory findings. NCI reported another bromine chemical to be an animal carcinogen following 130week tests on rats and mice.'° The compound was tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate, the flame retardant that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned in 1977 for use in children's sleepwear. The CPSC was involved in several actions in 1978 concerning tris: It abandoned its attempt to force eight manufacturers of tris-treated products to repurchase the millions of dollars of these goods they had sold." CPSC also ruled that it has the authority to ban exports of tris-treated apparel.12 This authority, however, was expected to be challenged in the courts. Fol lowing Congressional passage of a bill to provide government payments to clothing manufacturers, retailers, and others in the apparel industry that had incurred losses as a result of the tris ban, President Carter pocket vetoed the legislation." Among several reasons given for the veto, the President stated that the law would have set an "unwise precedent" to pay industry's losses when a product is used to meet a regulatory standard and that product is later judged to be hazardous. OSHA reportedly was contemplating regulation of workplace exposure to the chemical vinyl bromide, based on reports that rats had developed cancer following low-level exposure.'4 The State of Michigan issued a report on a special study of the health effects of small amounts of polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) in the bodies of Michigan residents." Although the State will continue monitoring the health of the general population for a 10-year period, the initial study concluded that low-level PBB contamination of an estimated 90% of residents, which resulted from accidental introduction of the cheinical into the food chain in 1973, has caused no adverse health effects. DOMESTIC PRODUCTION Six companies operated nine plants to extract bromine from brines in Arkansas and Michigan. The producers of elemental bromine were also the major manufacturers of bromine compounds, with two additional plants, one in Texas and one in Michigan; however, the St. Louis, Mich., plant of Velsicol Chemical Corp. was closed on September 1, 1978.16 The September deadline was a result of a 1976 settlement made with the State of Michigan following pollution problems involving the plant and its prod- ucts. Negotiations to sell the plant, before the deadline failed when certain conditions specified by the State Department of Natural Resources could not be resolved between Velsicol, the buyers, and the State. In December, Velsicol announced a $3 million program for its El Dorado, Ark., bromine production plant to enable the plant to meet current and future environmental regulations." The program was scheduled to be completed in 1979. Table 1.—Elemental bromine sold as such or used in the preparation of bromine compounds by primary U.S. producers (Million pounds and million dollars) 1977 1978 l979p Quantity Value Quantity Value Quantity Value Sold 59.0 12.8 53.2 11.3 59 13 Used To tal 374.8 86.9 393.4 88.7 443 102 433.8 99.7 ' 446.5 100.0 502 115
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