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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)


Page 132

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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