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General Description

Lab operations that result in air emissions of chemicals include:
  • Exhaust from fume hoods;
  • Stack emissions from boilers/steam units;
  • Air conditioning systems/chillers;
  • Solid waste and/or medical waste incinerators;
  • Ethylene oxide sterilizers.

Summary of Federal Requirements

Air Emission Permits

Typically, air emissions from labs are subject to little or no regulation unless the lab is a part of a larger facility which could be classed as a "major source." If the larger facility meets the definition of a "Major Source," emissions from the labs should be included in the Title V permit application.

Additionally, depending on the amount of toxic substances stored onsite, the lab may be required to develop and submit a Risk Management Plan. The lowest minimum amount stored onsite is 500 lb of Hydrogen selenide or Phosgene. After that, the amount is 1000 lbs for toxic substance such as Chlorine dioxide, Fluorine, Hydrofluoric acid, Nitric acid (conc 80% or greater). The complete table is found at 40 CFR 68.130.

Hazardous Air Pollutants

Section 112 of the Clean Air Act pertains to hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) which include, but are not limited to: Acetaldehyde, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform, Ethylene oxide, Hexane, Methyl ethyl ketone, Naphthalene, Toluene, and Xylenes (isomers and mixture). The regulations for HAPs are found in 40 CFR 63.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems

Like all federal buildings, there is a source of heat and a source of air conditioning. Whether or not these sources are regulated depends on size and types of fuels used. For more detailed information see Home » Assistance » Facility Regulatory Tour » Facility Infrastructure » HVAC


The solid waste generated at federal laboratories can be trash, it can be hazardous waste, and it can be medical waste. Each of these types of waste can be incinerated if the appropriate measure are taken. For more detailed information see Home » Assistance » Facility Regulatory Tour » Air Emission Sources » Incinerators.

Summary of State Requirements

States usually have permit requirement in order to construct and/or operate a source of air pollution. Depending on the attainment status of a state or given area of a state, more stringent planning, monitoring, and control standards will be required.

States may regulate fume hood exhausts, boilers, incinerators, or chillers through a permitting system.

Laws and Statutes

Clean Air Act

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Regulatory Sources
40 CFR 63
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Source Categories

40 CFR 68
Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions

40 CFR 70
State Operating Permit Programs
Related Topics
Last Updated: July 05, 2017