The EPA jumps the shark, banning – ARGON ?

This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “noble” cause corruption. Documentation follows. Eric Worrall writes:

h/t IceAgeNow – the American EPA has stunned observers, with a list of inert additives for pesticide formulations they intend to ban, which includes the noble gas Argon.

Its hard to imagine a more inoffensive substance than Argon. As a noble gas, Argon is chemically inert – it participates in no chemical reactions whatsoever, except under exotic conditions – there are no known chemical compounds which can survive at room temperature which include Argon. Argon is not a greenhouse gas.

But Argon is incredibly useful to industry – among other things, is used as a “shield” gas. Anyone who welds Aluminium or Stainless Steel will be familiar with Argon, which is used with MIG and TIG welders, to blow oxygen away from the electric welding arc, to prevent oxidative damage to the weld joint.

Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness, for no benefit whatsoever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argon

So why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon? IceAgeNow has a theory – they think Argon is part of a list supplied by a scientifically illiterate NGO, which the EPA plans to rubber stamp.

If anyone with any real scientific training whatsoever had seen this silly list before it was published, or had taken the trouble to do 5 minutes of research on each entry in the list, to discover how ridiculous and ignorant the inclusion of Argon on a list of dangerous chemicals to be banned really is, then the EPA would not be facing their current very public embarrassment.


 

From Anthony: When I first saw this story, I though surely this must be some sort of spoof or misunderstanding that led to this. Sadly, no. The EPA even has a press release about it:

EPA Proposes to Remove 72 Chemicals from Approved Pesticide Inert Ingredient List

Release Date: 10/23/2014

Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn Milbourn.cathy@epa.gov 202-564- 4355 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public comment on a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products.

“We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”

EPA is taking this action in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others. These groups asked the agency to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticide products. EPA developed an alternative strategy designed to reduce the risks posed by hazardous inert ingredients in pesticide products more effectively than by disclosure rulemaking. EPA outlined its strategy in a May 22, 2014 letter: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558-0003 to the petitioners.

Many of the 72 inert ingredients targeted for removal, are on the list of 371 inert ingredients identified by the petitioners as hazardous. The 72 chemicals are not currently being used as inert ingredients in any pesticide product. Chemicals such as, turpentine oil and nitrous oxide are listed as candidates for removal.

Most pesticide products contain a mixture of different ingredients. Ingredients that are directly responsible for controlling pests such as insects or weeds are called active ingredients. An inert ingredient is any substance that is intentionally included in a pesticide that is not an active ingredient.

For the list of 72 chemical substances and to receive information on how to provide comments, see the Federal Register Notice in docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558. To access this notice, copy and paste the docket number into the search box at: http://regulations.gov. Comments are due November 21, 2014.

General information on inert ingredients can be found at: http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/inert-ingredients-overview-and-guidance.

=======================================

Here is the GovSpeak document outlining the removal of 72 items:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/10/22/2014-24586/proposed-removal-of-certain-inert-ingredients-from-approved-chemical-substance-list-for-pesticide

And here is the list:

Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Pesticide Programs

Supporting document to docket# EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558

Listing of 72 chemical substances proposed for removal from the currently approved inert ingredient list.

EPA-argon-lisr

The full list: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558

My locally saved file: EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558-0002 (PDF)

 

[added] By the way, in case you did not know it, you breath in Argon every day. Argon is the third most common gas in the earth’s atmosphere at 0.93%. That makes it more common than that dangerous carbon dioxide (at ~0.03%)they keep whinging about.

air_composition[1]

atmospheric[1]

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Ian W
October 29, 2014 5:56 am

Eric asks:
“why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon?”
But he then goes on to answer his own question.
“Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness”
This would appear to be the rasion d’etre of the current EPA

klem
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 6:31 am

Wait a minute, at one point didn’t the EPA promote the purchase of Argon filled windows for homes because they reduced heat loss?
This is bizarre.

Barry
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 6:56 am

Not bizarre at all. It’s being removed from the list simply because it’s no longer being used. Be happy that regulations get updated to avoid no longer needed regulation.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 7:34 am

You have it backwards. It’s no longer being used, so we are going to ban it’s use. This is INCREASING regulations.

Harold
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 9:37 am

When did they ever use argon in pesticides? Asking for a friend.

Duster
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 10:33 am

If you look up the OSHA MSDS, the only hazard is the pressure under which it is stored. Rupture a filled tank and you have a bottle rocket of serious mass. The escaping blast might also cause physical harm or blow matter into your eyes. It might also present a freeze hazard, since it is decompressing and taking up heat in the process. It is not toxic, and presents no known environmental hazard.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 1:19 pm

You know, inhaled 100% argon may cause asphyxiation. We aren’t far from the day water gets banned.

Robert B
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 4:22 pm

“We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA”. Unfortunately, this is not a case of it being removed because it is redundant.

Danny Thomas
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 7:10 pm

It’s really just a way to stop the spread of neon lighting!

Richard G
Reply to  klem
October 29, 2014 10:30 pm

The dual pane windows I had installed in my home 12 years ago were filled with argon gas. They still work great, no leakage. I believe they were made by Atrium in Anaheim, CA.
In high school we would bring in our dirt bikes to welding class and we were required to remove the battery and gas tank before welding. If we were welding the gas tank itself, we were required to keep it filled with argon gas until finished.
I still remember the fool that left the battery in while welding, man that was a friggin bomb when it went off. I would imagine now some 40 odd years later if that were to happen, they would put the school in lockdown and call in SWAT.

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  klem
October 30, 2014 2:45 am

I thought they filled double-glazed windows with Nitrogen. It’s far more plentiful, therefore cheaper and only serves one purpose – to remove all water vapour so there’s no internal misting between panes.

Richard G
Reply to  klem
October 30, 2014 11:46 am

Olaf, I have never seen windows filled with nitrogen, not that they don’t, just that I’ve never seen them. The three window manufactures I looked at before purchase all used argon.

Keitho
Editor
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 6:40 am

It is hard not to think that Ian. Sometimes in the Occam struggle between clueless and malicious you have to come down on the side of malice.
The EPA is beyond satire.

MattS
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 6:56 am

Clueless and malicious are not mutually exclusive. I vote for both.

Mike H.
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 10:43 am

Incompetence is the hiding place of malevolence. Not to say that all who are incompetent are malevolent, just that those who are malevolent and don’t want to be known hide there.

Louis
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 10:27 pm

What happened to intelligence and common sense at the EPA?
Answer: They Argon.

Claudius
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 8:03 am

Exactly. We use CO2 and Argon in welding operations at the car factory. This whole idea looks to me to be aimed at further crippling the US and Western world’s economies. I say Western world because it’s apparent that these nuts share ideas back and forth.

wayne
Reply to  Claudius
October 29, 2014 12:03 pm

“This whole idea looks to me to be aimed at further crippling the US and Western world’s economies. ”
Exactly. Such moves by the EPA make this fact crystally clear.
Told my daughter years ago that it had become apparent quite quickly after he was elected in 2008 that Obama was put in place (lying and illegal) to do just that, destroy the US and the West’s way of life. Everything since has just proved this to be correct.

TheLastDemocrat
Reply to  Claudius
October 29, 2014 12:43 pm

some talk radio guy noted a few days ago that progressives hate the two things that leadingly give us freedom: cars and guns.

Stephen DuVal
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 8:21 am

Argon is used as a cover gas for Sodium Fast Reactors that can provide sustainable energy for the entire world at US consumption levels for 1000’s of years. This technology is not a research project, it was ready for implementation in the 1990’s.
This is just another roadblock being created by the EPA to prevent the use of nuclear to comply with the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan calls for the reduction of CO2 emissions by 20% from 2012 levels by 2030. While wind and solar receive 100% credit for their CO2 reductions, nuclear power receive credit for only 6% of its CO2 reductions.

David A
Reply to  Stephen DuVal
October 31, 2014 1:05 am

“While wind and solar receive 100% credit for their CO2 reductions, nuclear power receive credit for only 6 % of their CO2 reductions.”
==================================================
Don’t ya know…”To watermelons not all low CO2 generation is equal”. (From sequel to ‘Animal Farm”. called “Vegetable Blackbeard’s to Rule the world”

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 9:19 am

The raison d’etre of governmnent in general seems to be self-propogation. In this case, the Department of Energy wants (mandates?) energy efficient windows. EPA sets guidelines for achieving proper insulative levels with its Energy Star program. Argon seems the ideal insulating material. Pella and other Energy Star rated window manufacturers, took advantage of its low cost and extreme efficiency as a thermal blocker. (Energy Star guidelines are set by EPA).
5. Pella InsulShield® energy performers include:
Advanced Low-E Insulating Glass with Argon
Designer Series® Advanced Low-E Insulating Triple-Pane Glass with Argon
SunDefense™ Low-E Insulating Glass with Argon
So what a cozy deal: the Department of Energy mandates and the EPA proscribes. Consumers pick up the tab. (Rinse and Repeat)

Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 10:23 am

People, people, people. Settle down. Look closely at what they are doing:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558
Summary:
EPA is providing a list of inert ingredients to the public which the Agency believes are no longer used in registered pesticide products. This notice solicits comment on the proposed list of ingredients to be removed from the list of approved inert ingredients the Agency currently maintains
It is a house-keeping sort of thing. It is not anything to getting one’s panties in a twist over. They are banning nothing.
Read, people, read.
They are removing items from the list of approved inert ingredients for pesticides.
If anything this is a “got’cha” attempt. They want all sorts of people to overreact, then they can say “Got ‘cha!”

Duster
Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 29, 2014 10:38 am

There is house keeping, and then there is “house keeping.” Why remove an inert compound from list of inert compounds? At the very best the action is make work designed to empty a budget item and justify funding levels.

Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 29, 2014 11:09 am

Duster, they maintain a list of items that if it is contained in the product, nothing much needs to be done. If there is something not on that list in your pesticide product, then you have to provide all the information to make sure that the item is appropriate and not excessively dangerous to the public at large. For example, Strontium 90 might be a rather effective pesticide, but does anyone really, really want it in their ant and roach killer?
The list is items that you do not have to do anything about if your product contains it. They are removing items that no one seems to be using anymore for their product from that list. Relax.
I am not with the EPA, but even I understand this. Hell, I ridicule them all the rime, but for crying out loud, let it be over something worthwhile, not something this silly!

Karl Compton
Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 29, 2014 12:49 pm

So everything not mandatory is forbidden? And why shouldn’t I be able to use Argon as a propellant if I want to and it doesn’t do any damage, even if no one does it now and there may be technically better solutions? You look silly wearing plaid with stripes, but there’s no conceivable way to write a Constitutional law or regulation against it.
Sorry, there is no reasonable good spin on this.

timg56
Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 29, 2014 1:53 pm

If the list is those items a producer doesn’t have to do anything in order to use, then removal from the list means that should someone in the future want to use them, they will have to go through EPA regulation.
This doesn’t look like house keeping – it looks like they are extending their sway.

DonM
Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 29, 2014 4:29 pm

Wrong!
How is it “just housekeeping” to reduce what is allowed. Read that again “reduce what is allowed” …
it is a limitation on what is currently allowed.
They may be smart enough to have included it (argon) so they could respond to the public comments by saying “We received 12,000 comments that argon is a substance that is benign and we agree … it will stay on the list. We received RELATIVELY little comment on the others (and as such nobody significant cares) and the other compounds are no longer allowed. Thank you for the very large public input/response … our system of management is obviously very open and responsive.”
This is the recent government standard – both the lazy regulatory practice of stating ONLY what the governed are allowed to do (therefore implying that everything else is restricted), and also patting themselves on the back because of their “fantastic” efforts at gaining public input.

Richard G
Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 29, 2014 10:45 pm

wyoskeptic, Those ingredients are currently approved for use in pesticides. They want to remove them from the approved list, hence you will not be able to use them.

JJ
Reply to  wyoskeptic
October 30, 2014 12:36 am

wyoskeptic
Duster, they maintain a list of items that if it is contained in the product, nothing much needs to be done. If there is something not on that list in your pesticide product, then you have to provide all the information to make sure that the item is appropriate and not excessively dangerous to the public at large.

And now there will be fewer things on the list of items about which nothing much needs to be done, including things like argon, about which nothing at all should need to be done. So now, in order to use categorically benign argon, you will be forced to prove the negative.
You say “read people, read” to which we people respond “comprehend dude, comprehend”.

I am not with the EPA, but even I understand this.

No, you really don’t.

Leo G
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 3:42 pm

More likely, the author mistyped Ar when they meant to type As and some factotum later dutifully added the Chemical Abstract number for Argon.

Robert B
Reply to  Leo G
October 29, 2014 4:30 pm

Ethane was a typo for what? We have had explosions from too many flea bombs going off in an enclosed area but it is not a pollutant. (Disclaimer: I don’t recommend its use as a shield gas).
EFFECTS OF A SINGLE (ACUTE) OVEREXPOSURE:
SKIN:
No harm expected from gas. Liquid may cause frostbite.
EYES:
No harm expected from gas. Liquid may cause frostbite.
INHALATION:
Asphyxiation. Effects are due to lack of oxyg
en. Moderate concentrations may cause headache,
drowsiness, dizziness, excitation, excess salivation, vomiting, and unconsciousness. Lack of oxygen can
kill.
INGESTION:
An unlikely route of exposure. This product is a
gas at normal temperature and
pressure, but frostbite of
the lips and mouth may result from contact with the liquid.

cba
Reply to  Ian W
October 29, 2014 10:14 pm

maybe because it’s # 3 on the components of atmosphere list, behind nitrogen and oxygen? Obviously, man’s use of argon must be increasing the amount of argon in the atmosphere that has escaped or allowed to escape and dissipate from man’s industrial uses. Sooner or later if man keeps putting argon into the air, it’s gonna displace all the oxygen and we’ll suffocate. LOL. who coulda guessed 30 years ago that mental retardation is a communicable disease?

Jimmy Haigh.
October 29, 2014 5:56 am

Why not ban Oxygen? It turns harmless Carbon into deadly CO2…

Joe B
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh.
October 29, 2014 6:40 am

They will when it dawns on them that O2 is the primordial pollutant.

Reply to  Joe B
October 29, 2014 8:06 am

Yes, Joe. Cyanobacteria about 2.5 billion years ago created the
Mother-of-All Climate Change events.

more soylent green!
Reply to  Joe B
October 29, 2014 8:51 am

Oxygen causes rust. It also permits combustion of fossil fuels. You can’t burn fossil fuels without oxygen. PLUS there’s a health benefit — why do they always bug us about getting more antioxidants in our diets? Why, because oxygen kills! We’d all be far, far healthier with less oxygen.

Taphonomic
Reply to  Joe B
October 29, 2014 9:37 am

And just look at what happened to those cyanobacteria after their cyanobacteriagenic climate change.

Bill
Reply to  Joe B
October 29, 2014 10:23 am

dihydrogen monoxide can be deadly!

Sam Hall
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh.
October 29, 2014 8:41 am

Oxygen causes fires, ban it.

Harold
Reply to  Sam Hall
October 29, 2014 9:38 am

And rust. The stuff’s wicked corrosive.

Reply to  Jimmy Haigh.
October 29, 2014 8:55 am

Definitely we need to ban oxygen and nitrogen. Nitrogen takes up 78% of the atmosphere and it isn’t fair that one gas hog so much space, until nitrogen learns to share it has to be banned.

asybot
Reply to  tomwtrevor
October 29, 2014 10:24 pm

Thanks for the laugh and I have to say that goes to all of you that pointed out the danger of oxygen, the proof of that is in Washington, where the people in charge are so elevated (in their own minds) that they show symptoms of the lack thereof.

Alx
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh.
October 29, 2014 9:13 am

Carbon harmless? It is a co-conspirator with Oxygen in producing deadly CO2. Co-conspirators face the same penalities as the primary parties. EPA must act today and add carbon to some EPA banned list or another. Carbon based life forms may have a few issues with this, but you can’t make an omelot without breaking a few eggs.

Terry
Reply to  Alx
October 30, 2014 12:00 am

Without Carbon all life on Earth would cease. Carbon Dioxide is not deadly it is life.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh.
October 29, 2014 9:44 am

Keep in mind that O16 was originally C12 until an He4 was added during steller nucleosynthesis. That alone makes it evil.

Alan the Brit
October 29, 2014 5:59 am

Just checked my diary, it says October 29th not April 1st!

richard
October 29, 2014 6:02 am

one day when there is nothing left to ban,
The EPA bans the EPA.

Dr. Paul Mackey
Reply to  richard
October 29, 2014 6:20 am

Maybe they should do that first?

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Dr. Paul Mackey
October 29, 2014 10:58 am

BINGO!

Richard G
Reply to  richard
October 29, 2014 10:50 pm

Think of all the tax dollars that would be saved.

Alberto
October 29, 2014 6:05 am

Argon? Are they serious? Argon is the third most common gas in the earth’s athmosphere at 0,93%. Will the EPA ban oxygen next?

Nylo
Reply to  Alberto
October 29, 2014 6:13 am

Actually on average Water Vapor is third, Argon is fourth. But regionally the ammount of Water Vapor can vary a lot, in time and space, and you can find more Argon than H2O in many places, especially in deserts.

ShrNfr
Reply to  Alberto
October 29, 2014 6:15 am

They are working on it. It has been rumored that CO2 is part oxygen.

Nylo
Reply to  Alberto
October 29, 2014 6:23 am

And by the way, the proposed banning of Argon was to be expected, after all it’s been years since several greens were captured on video showing agreement to a proposal to ban monoxide of dihydrogen. Banning things is critical for them to be able to feel good with themselves.

Keitho
Editor
Reply to  Alberto
October 29, 2014 6:54 am

My old, but very useful, “Nature’s Building Blocks”, tells me that more than 750 000 tonnes a year are extracted from liquid air and that there are 66×10^12 tonnes in the atmosphere. It has many uses in lighting, welding( where it reduces the amount of CO2 generated as an added side dish), high grade metal powders for the manufacture of tools, double glazing, high end car tyres, blue argon lasers used in surgery. Useful stuff and not yet used in pesticides as noted above.
Surprisingly it is reactive and forms argon fluorohydride. The conditions are tricky though, you have to freeze a mixture of argon and hydrogen fluoride on to caesium iodide at -265 C and then expose the whole lot to ultra violet causing them to react and form HArF. It only exists below -246 C but it quickly dissociates as it warms.
Argon is not anybodies enemy.

October 29, 2014 6:06 am

Employee drug testing needs to begin immediately at the EPA. After the mid-term elections auctions should begin for EPA properties, buildings, offices & assets. Remaining employees can work from their respective NGO offices until they are called by special prosecutors or grand juries.

beng
Reply to  Paul in Sweden
October 29, 2014 7:35 am

Sarcasm, I know, but the drug-testing should absolutely begin. It’s the norm in major private industry.
Problem is, no union-member, registered-Democrat gov-employee ever seems to get fired….

nielszoo
October 29, 2014 6:09 am

I’ve got it. Banning argon allows the EPA to ban almost all pesticides. Since argon is ~1% of the atmosphere unless the container shipping the pesticide is under vacuum or flooded with another non-banned gas there will be argon in every pesticide container thereby making every pesticide illegal. I would add a </sarc> tag, but I’m afraid that the brilliant bureaucrats currently working in our government would use this new, made up out of thin air regulation exactly like that.

Paul Schnurr
October 29, 2014 6:11 am

Am I reading this right? Are they trying to ban substances just because they’re not being used anymore? This appears to be a waste of time to me.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Paul Schnurr
October 29, 2014 9:49 am

Wouldn’t it be better if they simply put out of list of approved substances that can be used in pesticides? I guess that they feel more powerful by banning rather than approving.

MarkinSandyEggo
Reply to  Paul Schnurr
October 29, 2014 12:26 pm

Yes, but what this does is makes it so that future pesticides would not have easily available these chemicals to make new products that work better. Just because they are not used today, doesn’t mean that some innovative person may come out with a new use in the future.
This smells to me to be the work of fringe people who want to ban pesticide use. Since these chemicals are not in current use, they can ram this through without resistance.

Wu
October 29, 2014 6:11 am

Here’s a question for the “un-educated”… a few actually.
Why is Argon used in pesticides in the first place?
What’s involved in getting Argon and containing it?
What’re the current supply, demand and reserve figures?
What are the main uses for Argon? (linked to the question above really)
It’s difficult for many casual readers such as I to know the context around this ban. I would appreciate any factual responses to said questions to help me understand at least where the EPA are coming from regarding this apparently ludicrus decision.

Nylo
Reply to  Wu
October 29, 2014 6:15 am

Argon is NOT being used in the composition of any pesticides.

Barry
Reply to  Nylo
October 29, 2014 6:54 am

Exactly — it’s being removed from the list simply because it’s not being used.

tmlutas
Reply to  Nylo
October 29, 2014 7:32 am

Actually argon is being used to kill insects:
http://museumpests.net/solutions-fact-sheets/solutions-nitrogenargon-gas-treatment/
I don’t know if the proposed change would affect the acceptability of this method of killing pest insects.
As in all things where government meets stupid, Google is your friend.

DHR
Reply to  Nylo
October 29, 2014 8:32 am

Barry, perhaps your point of view has to do with your concept of Government. In civil society in western countries, you are allowed to do anything not prohibited. Its not that way in the military of these countries and its not that way in civil or the military in the former and currently Communists countries where you are only allowed to do what is permitted, all else being prohibited. I prefer our way.

Greg
Reply to  Nylo
October 29, 2014 9:20 am

This is idiotic, you don’t ban something because it’s not used, you ban something because it can cause proven harm. !000’s of people have too little to do and need to be fired yesterday.

Reply to  Nylo
October 29, 2014 11:28 am

Barry,
Your comments make NO SENSE. You wrote upthread:
It’s being removed from the list simply because it’s no longer being used.
The you write:
Exactly — it’s being removed from the list simply because it’s not being used.
I could make a list a mile long of things we no longer use. That’s just make-work for an EPA bureaucrat. I can’t think of a more lame argument.
If you’re going to defend the EPA, try to find something worth defending. I know it’s a difficult job. But that particular argument is a loser.

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Wu
October 29, 2014 6:31 am

You extract Ar from air by refrigeration and compression of .. well, “air” just like you extract Co2 from “air” – It is IMPOSSIBLE to run out of Ar.
From Wikipedia: Industrial

Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air in a cryogenic air separation unit; a process that separates liquid nitrogen, which boils at 77.3 K, from argon, which boils at 87.3 K, and liquid oxygen, which boils at 90.2 K. About 700,000 tonnes of argon are produced worldwide every year.

Yes, you do need energy to compress and super-cool the liquid air down towards -200 C, but other than that, it is a simple enough process.
Will the EPA regulate the CO2 fire extinguishers next? After all, they DID all but ban the more effective commercial fire-fighting gasses – even on Navy ships where “winning in combat” by fighting fires and explosions is evidently less important than preventing the hole in the ozone layer.

DP
Reply to  Wu
October 29, 2014 7:04 am

Argon is used when in inert gas is needed. My guess is that it most common use is in welding where it is vented directly back into the atmosphere. It is also used to extinguish fires, again, vented to the atmosphere.

Wu
Reply to  Wu
October 29, 2014 1:15 pm

Thanks for replies guys. What I was thinking was that maybe there’s a sudden drop in argon production or a new tech might need a lot of it which is why I wanted figures on it. If it’s easy and cheap to obtain and store, then there’s no real reason why it’s being retired out of the fertiliser busisness.
I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt – seems like yet another banning for no good reason. (so far)

Neo
October 29, 2014 6:12 am

It appears it may be necessary to render the EPA as inert as argon

October 29, 2014 6:13 am

Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness. Perfect isn’t it?Soon the west and America will be on equal footing with Africa and the middle east! And the Obama nation that causes desolation will have his collective salvation goals realized.

mark wagner
Reply to  Kirk MacPherson
October 29, 2014 7:52 am

They are not proposing to ban argon in industrial settings.
They are proposing to ban the use of argon in pesticides. Only.

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  mark wagner
October 29, 2014 8:48 am

mark wagner
Submitted on 2014/10/29 at 7:52 am | In reply to Kirk MacPherson.
They are not proposing to ban argon in industrial settings.
They are proposing to ban the use of argon in pesticides. Only.

No. They are removing Argon – a chemically inert gas! that CANNOT REACT CHEMICALLY WITH ANYTHING! – from their previous list of government-approved “inert ingredients” that can be used in pesticides. But Argon IS IN THE AIR that is in the pesticide powder and spray and air-mixtures!
How the bl**dy Hades are they going to keep an inert ingredient naturally in air at 100’s of times the concentration of CO2 – also naturally in the atmosphere. The EPA is making a series of dumb and irrational decisions totally against even basic freshmen-level chemistry – which shows the EPA’s stupidity and incompetence, and calls properly in question every one of their remaining decisions.
Now, what this proves is too things: The EPA is professionally incompetent. And you appear to be professionally “tuned” to accept anything stupid they do, to excuse their stupid decisions, and to “spin” their stupidity into further foolish behavior. Is that deliberate, accidental, brain-washing from their years of propaganda, or are they paying you?

Alan c
October 29, 2014 6:15 am

Perhaps it is being done to preserve Argon because Argon is in relatively short supply or expensive to produce

cirby
Reply to  Alan c
October 29, 2014 6:30 am

Liquid argon costs about $1.70 per liter, and is almost one percent of the entire atmosphere, so no on both.

Keitho
Editor
Reply to  cirby
October 29, 2014 7:01 am

Yup, there are 66×10^12 tonnes of it in the atmosphere and when we use it, it just goes straight back unchanged.

Gunga Din
Reply to  cirby
October 29, 2014 1:21 pm

Even if it was, it’s inert and harmless. It’s not toxic.
Sure, if it displaces O2 in a confined space you’d be harmed. But that would be due to lack of O2, not argon. That would make how it’s used an OSHA safety issue, not an EPA issue.
If it’s not toxic, how can the EPA say anything about it all other than it’s safe to use as an ingredient? Even if it’s not used anymore in pesticides the most that should happen is that it be considered “unregulated” as an ingredient, not removed from “approved” or require an explanation to justify it’s use.

Gunga Din
Reply to  cirby
October 29, 2014 1:27 pm

It just occurred to me that this might be an example of “bureaucratic think”. The right lobe doesn’t know what the left lobe is doing. 😎

Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2014 6:15 am

They forgot the deadliest chemical of all, dihydrogen monoxide.
Of course, what really needs banning is the EPA itself.

PiperPaul
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2014 10:56 am

They should start and keep laying EPA people off until they all argon.

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  PiperPaul
October 29, 2014 11:02 am

PP wins the thread! 😀

Admin
Reply to  PiperPaul
October 29, 2014 2:29 pm

Ouch 🙂

David A
Reply to  PiperPaul
October 31, 2014 1:21 am

Piper wins a prize. We are sending him a new bumper sticker…’STOP Global Whining!”

Peter
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2014 3:49 pm

Agree. Dihydrogen Monoxide kills millions of people every year, does incalculable damage to the environment in excess, can be used in pesticides and is essential in most industry, and yet it’s production and use is not regulated! I’ve never heard of Argon hurting anyone.

Nigel S
October 29, 2014 6:17 am

You think that’s impressive? We plan to destroy our entire economy based on the advice of an English literature grad. from FoE. We’re so grateful we’ve put her in the House of Lords.

RACookPE1978
Editor
October 29, 2014 6:18 am

Many of the 72 inert ingredients targeted for removal, are on the list of 371 inert ingredients identified by the petitioners as hazardous. The 72 chemicals are not currently being used as inert ingredients in any pesticide product. Chemicals such as, turpentine oil and nitrous oxide are listed as candidates for removal.

Never mind the bureaucratic gobble-de-gook about “inert chemicals” being simultaneously “inert” AND “hazardous to your health” …. (I do understand the use of “inert” in pesticide mixes of active and inactive of course.)
But, look at the partial list above: Each of the chemicals listed is commercially, has 6 to 8 PAGES of MSDS safety sheets that MUST BE PROVIDED by OSHA “law” EVERY time the chemical is shipped to a job site or is used at a jobsite. Why does the EPA think the chemical – especially when it used in used as a INERT ingredient in a physical mixture that is not chemically reacting when used properly? (Even sand, wood chips, Argon, NO3, NO2, even N2 will kill if used improperly!)
Oh, by the way – The Ar is probably originally added as an “inert ingredient” in a pesticide list as a joke by some fed-up and disgusted chemist in the pesticide company: “Nobody could be that stupid. But the lawyer said we have to include everything. OK, fine. I’ll include Ar, N2, and O2 and water in this list – that the fed’s will never read anyway – because Ar is a naturally-occurring mixture in air, and we have air mixed i our product ,,,, Yuck, yuck,”

tmlutas
Reply to  RACookPE1978
October 29, 2014 7:38 am

Argon *is* actually used to kill insects.
Why aren’t people checking? It’s not like Google is hard to get to or use.
If we don’t fall into the trap of “too good to check” our side will have a persistent advantage over the CAGW types who actively discourage checking and independent thought. This kind of a story is a good warmup

Duster
Reply to  tmlutas
October 29, 2014 10:48 am

Argon is not used to “kill” insects. It is used, with Nitrogen, to create an inert atmosphere with extremely low levels of oxygen in which the insects essentially starve and suffocate to death because of a lack of oxygen. Argon itself is not toxic. The lack of oxygen kills the bugs.

Reply to  tmlutas
October 29, 2014 11:56 pm

Duster – This is a regulatory story. Argon is being taken off the list of things you don’t have to file paperwork for. You can almost see the future where some rules bound idiot (likely in a highly regulatory blue state) is going to force an exterminator to file paperwork and incur costs because of this decision both in time and in filing fees.
I also note, the only person saying somebody might believe that Argon is toxic is you. I said it was used to kill insects, a true statement. You can do that without being toxic, which is how the substance is used in the real world.
I have no idea why it works better than Nitrogen. Do you?

Alberto
October 29, 2014 6:20 am

It seems that WADA (the antidoping agency) bans argon as doping since it can be used to create an oxygen deficit in tissues to which the human body reacts by creating extra red blood cells. But that’s too far fetched: I don’t think this decision by EPA has anything to do with WADA.

LevelGaze
October 29, 2014 6:23 am

Given the composition of atmosphere, it follows that Compressed Air must also be banned. Look forward to running on flat tyres then, just for starters.
A more progressive move – hopefully soon – would be to have all these nutters committed to an asylum for the term of their natural.
Stop the World – I want to get off.

October 29, 2014 6:23 am

We must recall that very high levels of argon in the air can replace oxygen and cause extreme discomfort andor suffocation. This problem is much more serious if the exposure to argon takes place during exercise.
For example, experiments carried out on rats showed they suffered a lot of discomfort when the rats were forced to run on a threadmill using 200 volt electric shocks in a 10 % argon atmosphere. Our analysis shows 56 % of the rats exhibited erratic walk and bounced of the cage walls after 30 minutes, while 12 % collapsed and died before the 30 minutes were over.
The experiment protocol called for argon concentration increases to 15 and 20 %, but the experiments were suspended.
A follow up experiment was carried out using chimpanzees, It showed they were unable to peel a banana if fed at a temperature ranging between 38 and 42 degrees C in 90 % H2O relative humidity and 20 % argon concentration.
Given the harm observed in animal experiments we decided to discontinue the project, and the the argon atmosphere experiments on humans were cancelled. The rats and the chimps were returned to a recovery center at the St. Louis zoo, where they continue to show somewhat erratic behavior.

Nylo
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 6:35 am

LOL!

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 6:37 am

But the rats’ erratic behavior was only due to their irritation at having to share a common break room with climate scientists and EPA lawyers ….
There are some things so cruel that even lab rats will refuse to tolerate!

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 6:49 am

10 to 20%, yes. Similar discomfort arises from oxygen deprivation. At the summit of Mt Everest one breath gives you only 33% of the sea level amount of oxygen. Unless are Sherpa, you are at high risk of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and cerebral edema (fluid in the brain). You end up with disorientation, and a number of other symptoms probably similar to what you describe for chimps in argon, and if not corrected (take oxygen or get to a lower altitude) it can lead to coma and death within 48 hrs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_cerebral_edema
It ain’t the argon that’s responsible, but I’m sure it is such a stupidly misunderstood experiment that that is where the idea came from. Any idea why they were doing such a diabolical experiment?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 29, 2014 8:00 am

The experiment was carried out under a US government grant. I assume you know our organization investigates a diversity of fields? OUr most recent papers were on issues such as social psychology (“Qualitative Analysis of President Obama´s Speech at the UN”), nuclear engineering (“Nuclear Plants Construction: a Proposal for Africa”), and medicine (“Are NASA employees color blind?”). The argon experiments were a minor project. Why would you consider they were poorly designed? We used the EPA and CDC guidelines.

mpainter
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 29, 2014 8:35 am

EPA guidelines? Not impressed Fernando Leanme. Nor with your torture of rats and chimpanzes on a gummint grant. This is the kind of (r@p that needs to be ended.
concerning EPA bans- who knows the law? Can the EPA ban
any substance on a whim, without demonstrating that such substance is harmful? Who knows this?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 29, 2014 10:49 am

You are a clever, amusing and diabolical fellow, Fernando! I normally get a joke but my brain has been assaulted over the past decade or so by stuff like this that is regarded to be serious.

Stevan Makarevich
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 7:14 am

This reminds me of a similar experiment we performed, but with hydrogen instead of argon. Unfortunately, one of the 200 volt electric shocks resulted in an electric arc, so that experiment came to an abrupt end.

Greg Roane
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 7:15 am

The “erratic walk and bounced off the cage walls”, “12% collapsed and died”, and “continue to show somewhat erratic behavior” wouldn’t have anything to do with “200 volt electric shocks” and “running 30 minutes” on a treadmill, would it?
Also, were the chimps unable or unwilling to peel a banana in 104-107 F @ 90% humidity? Put me in that environment, with or without Ar – wearing a fur coat, no less – and I wouldn’t be peeling anything for you either.

Reply to  Greg Roane
October 29, 2014 8:04 am

We could consider you for a different experiment if you wish, but you must know how to swim. The experiment is intended to investigate the survival ability of Polynesians to sea level rise.

mpainter
Reply to  Greg Roane
October 29, 2014 8:38 am

How much $$$ for this one Fernando? Would you care to divulge?

Reply to  Greg Roane
October 30, 2014 7:03 am

Mapainter our first submittal requested $2.6 million USD. But that includes our overhead as well as the cost to fly to Funafuti and rent a research vessel for the summer of 2015. At that time we would be measuring sea level rise and testing the native population for their perception of how they can survive as the island’s ecosystem collapses. We would also be making a video to help my “Drowning Islands” charity improve cash flow. I assume you are familiar with Drowning Islands ?

mpainter
Reply to  Greg Roane
October 31, 2014 8:49 am

Yes, Fernando, I am familiar with drowning islands. In fact, I have drowned a few myself. That was before people got grants for doing that. I was born too early.

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 8:00 am

The same of course is true of Nitrogen so presumably we must also ban air which contains dangerously high levels of N2

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Keith Willshaw
October 29, 2014 8:59 am

Fernando Leanme’s experiments are carefully controlled for excess nitrogen.
Every liter of Argon poured on the too-hot chimpanzees is very carefully monitored, and exactly 1.0 liter of nitrogen is sucked back pout of the enclosure.
I am however, eagerly awaiting the followup experiment wherein his carefully-established team verifies the modeled experiment reducing the levels nitrogen in the enclosure to progressively lower levels by replacing it with an inert substance approved by the EPA. (Bureaucratic brain cells are hard to find and so rare they are on the endangered list already, and thus much more expensive. Politician brain cells are of course out of the question – they have long been extinct.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
October 30, 2014 7:21 am

We are waiting for the Ebola epidemic scare to subside before we proceed with the experiments at Emory University’s high pressure chamber. The experiment protocol is intended to prove CO2 is a harmful pollutant by placing volunteers in a normal atmosphere plus 1 % CO2 at 20 atmospheres for 12 hours, then using a three minute decompression protocol. If we notice any harmful effects we would have the former Ebola ward ready to handle the subjects. If the government can’t handle the Ebola issue by next year we will be moving our team to Australia or some other country with a decent visa ban on incoming visitors from Ebola countries. At that point in time we need to locate a high pressure chamber to proceed with these experiments.

Alx
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 9:27 am

I hope this experiment is made-up absurdity. A joke basically.
If not I recommend forcing Fernando to run on treadmill using 200 volt electric shocks while continually eating banana and peanut butter sandwiches. If Fernando collapses within 30 minutes, we would have conclusive proof that banana and peanut butter sandwiches are hazardous.
If he lasts 60 minutes we”ll take a 1 hour break and keep repeating the test until he collapses within 30 minutes and have our conclusive proof that banana and peanut butter sandwiches are indeed hazardous.

PiperPaul
Reply to  Alx
October 29, 2014 11:15 am

I say we start the experiment again, but with a spherical Fernando.

Reply to  Alx
October 30, 2014 7:26 am

What are you, th local PETA representatives ? Those experiments are run on animals. It’s not like we are tossing them onto wind turbine blades.

Greg
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 29, 2014 9:38 am

I’ve done similar experiements on myself using only CO2 and alcohol, and perhaps some barley and hops. Similar results.

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
October 30, 2014 9:44 am

heh heh even funnier is some seem to have taken you seriously.

October 29, 2014 6:25 am

No surprise really, Greenpeace had a campaign to ban chlorine and after all, the EPA are Greenpeace’s regulatory arm.
http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/know-your-enemy-the-environmental-regulator/
Pointman

Reply to  Pointman
October 29, 2014 9:16 am

Bill Clinton once said we should ban chlorine and all its compounds. So goodbye table salt, and I don’t know what all the fish in the ocean are going to do, but we can’t have salt in the ocean either.

Man Bearpig
October 29, 2014 6:26 am

I think its time some Chemists/Chemical Engineers joined up at EPA rather than the bunch of tree huggers conspiracy theorists that seem to be ruling the roost there. Next thing is they will fall for the Di-Hydrogen Oxide trap and ban – well we all know what that is !

James McCown
October 29, 2014 6:28 am

Next will be helium and xenon, followed by nitrogen.

October 29, 2014 6:30 am

Once you’ve named CO2 (without which there would be no life) a pollutant everything is fair game.

Alx
Reply to  elmer
October 29, 2014 9:28 am

Unfortunately and ridiculously so.

Admad
October 29, 2014 6:34 am

They missed that dam’ Di-Hydrogen Oxide menace, though…

tmitsss
October 29, 2014 6:37 am

Because the Argon in our incandescent light bulbs is inert it is used by the National Archives to protect the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. If you are banning Argon, starting with the ILB ban then with pesticides, its logical to believe that next you wish to destroy our Independence and Constitution. (sadly I have to note that is sarcasm)
The Argon ban is a IQ test which the EPA has flunked

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  tmitsss
October 29, 2014 11:07 am

“its logical to believe that next you wish to destroy our Independence and Constitution. (sadly I have to note that is sarcasm)”
Sadly, I have to note that it is NOT. These clowns DO “wish to destroy our Independence and Constitution.” >:-(

tommoriarty
October 29, 2014 6:38 am

Argon is the third most abundant gas in the atmosphere (excluding water vapor), nearly 1%. Nitrogen: 78.08%, Oxygen: 20.95%, Argon: 0.93%.
See image here…
http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/kyotos-impact-on-atmospheric-co2/
During the construction of the muon drift chambers for the D0 collision point at Fermi Lab we used to store some sensitive parts in Argon. Little did I know how dangerous it was! Thank you EPA

lee
Reply to  tommoriarty
October 29, 2014 10:51 pm

I hope your ‘sensitive parts’ survived OK?

John West
October 29, 2014 6:40 am

”Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness”
This is not an “effort to regulate” Argon or any of the other fairly benign entries on the list like Boron Oxide and Crystalline Silica (Tripoli) but rather removal from the (pre)approved list of inert ingredients available to pesticide formulators without jumping through EPA hoops. Once removed from the list a company that wished to use it in a formulation would have to prove its safe and of course pay a fee.
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558-0001
”If an application for registration of a pesticide product includes inert ingredients not on the approved list, the inert ingredient will need approval and require payment of a fee”
”any proposed future use of the inert ingredient would need to be supported by data provided to and reviewed by the EPA as part of a new inert ingredient submission request. The type of data needed to evaluate a new inert ingredient may include, among others, studies to evaluate potential carcinogenicity, adverse reproductive effects, developmental toxicity, genotoxicity as well as environmental effects associated with any chemical substance that is persistent or bioaccumulative”

tmlutas
Reply to  John West
October 29, 2014 7:41 am

This is a strike against museums, which use the nitrogen/argon suffocation method to rid themselves of pests without leaving chemical residues on their artwork. How dare they.
The EPA is a bunch of philistines.
/hyperbole
/ha ha but serious

Gary Pearse
Reply to  tmlutas
October 29, 2014 10:42 am

Handy for lefties to rewrite history.

Reply to  John West
October 29, 2014 9:02 am

”If an application for registration of a pesticide product includes inert ingredients not on the approved list, the inert ingredient will need approval and require payment of a fee”
So it’s a fund-raising effort, then.

Harold
Reply to  John West
October 29, 2014 9:45 am

Of all the ‘splanations I’ve read here, that’s the only one that makes any sense. This is an attempt to rectify an earlier screw-up that included AR on an approved list of inert ingredients in the first place. That I can believe.

Robin Hewitt
October 29, 2014 6:41 am

Argon and Xenon are banned substances for international athletes. It seems that training on a low oxygen atmosphere gives you an advantage when you breathe the real thing in competition. Are they really trying to detoxify pesticides? I can see a problem with that.

Alx
Reply to  Robin Hewitt
October 29, 2014 9:29 am

Not for the insects. I think there is a large insect lobby in Washington along wiht the rats.

DirkH
October 29, 2014 6:42 am

They simply got a list of everything that is in pesticides, declare that they intend to ban each one of them, and wait for the comments.
This way they can spend their time going on vacation without punching out, pretending they are CIA agents, and months later come back and read the comments; then they will take those ingredients off the list that need no banning.

rxc
October 29, 2014 6:43 am

I found a very interesting CAS entry http://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductChemicalPropertiesCB0330440_EN.htm on argon, while doing a search of the CAS number. It seems that someone has concluded that argon is manufactured from amonia, nitrogen, and hydrogen, thru a very complex series of intermediaries. If someone is actually synthesizing argon by this route, it appears that they have discovered the philosopher’s stone (or is spending a fortune on transmutation energy, instead of doing simple fractionation of liquid air) I wonder if the activists just did a CAS search or an MSDS search on these substances, and then just threw any scary ones on to their list. And the EPA is just rubber-stamping it, because they don’t know any better.
As a former govt official or a highly technical agency, I am embarrassed that the competence of the federal government has sunk this low. I have already submitted a comment to them about this. It is appalling.

Keitho
Editor
Reply to  rxc
October 29, 2014 7:08 am

Argon is an element. Tricky to manufacture really.

hunter
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 7:35 am

heh.

Frank
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 7:58 am

Argon is produced (non-anthropogenicly) by decay of potassium all the time.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 8:49 am

@Frank
You’re wrong. The average human has 120g of potassium in their body, 0.012% of which is K40, the radioactive isotope. So every human is a little anthropogenic argon factory by decay of K40 through electron capture and the emission of 1.460 MeV gamma ray and a neutrino.

Richard G
Reply to  Keitho
October 29, 2014 11:19 pm

Eh, that would explain why my body has been decaying.

ShrNfr
October 29, 2014 6:44 am

Actually, there is a very rational explanation for this. While discussing the chemicals to be banned, the bureaucrats discussed the issue. They talked about a large number of chemicals and what would happen once those are gone from pesticide. Having discussed the issue of “are gone” they decided that it would be wise to also include argon in the list. Adams modeled Vogons on British civil servants for a reason.

Duster
Reply to  ShrNfr
October 29, 2014 10:52 am

Oof.

Barry
October 29, 2014 6:53 am

If one reads just a little more closely, the reason for removing Argon from the list is simply that it is no longer being used, i.e., why waste taxpayer funds monitoring for it if it is no longer used?
“EPA is considering removing from this list a set of 72 chemical substances that are no longer being used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide product.”

tmlutas
Reply to  Barry
October 29, 2014 7:44 am

Since argon is being used, we have now established that Google use is beyond the technical capabilities of the EPA. Seriously, try googling argon use pesticide. It’s right up there on the top half of the first page.

mebbe
Reply to  Barry
October 29, 2014 8:37 am

“We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA,”
Barry, I think the quote above is a clear statement of their intent.
Your quote is merely a statement about what it is that they want to withdraw approval for.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Barry
October 29, 2014 8:48 am

Barry: It is pointless and stupid to ban elements and compounds simply because they aren’t being used.
You ask “…why waste taxpayer funds monitoring for it if it is no longer used?”
Are you serious? Are you telling us the EPA has been wasting time and money monitoring for inert gasses? How long has this been going on? If you really want to save taxpayer funds, ban the EPA. They clearly don’t know what they are doing.
Do you work for the EPA by chance?
Did you have some hand in this idiotic regulation?

Reply to  Barry
October 29, 2014 11:34 am

@Barry:
You just don’t give up, do you? Banning something because it is no longer being used is bureaucratic stupidity. That is not in the EPA’s remit. They are supposed to be protecting the environment, not banning the most harmless atoms in existence, for the sole reason that they are no longer used. What if someone wants to use them again? They can’t; they’ve been banned.
Really, Barry, try to pick your battles better. The EPA can’t seem to do it. But you should be able to, before you dig any deeper.

Michael Graebner
Reply to  dbstealey
October 29, 2014 11:51 am

It is used with our ICP instrument.

Richard G
Reply to  Barry
October 29, 2014 11:27 pm

Barry, taxpayer funds are not being wasted monitoring it. It is on an approved list of ingredients. If it is removed from the list, taxpayer funds will be wasted to reapprove it if someone wants to use it.
At this point I believe the EPA itself has become a waste of taxpayer funds and should be banned or at least removed from the approved list of government agencies.

Richard Ilfeld
October 29, 2014 6:55 am

Strangely, I am cheering. If you set out to discipline the agency, they will immediately wrap themselves in the usual memes: “Saving the planet”, “Saving the children”, etc. One needs a few truly obvious stupidities that are indefensible to the average voter ( a low bar) to actually have the political cojones to do anything.

Ian H
Reply to  Richard Ilfeld
October 29, 2014 7:33 am

The average voter hears the word ‘Argon’ and worries about pesticides possibly poisoning superman.

Alx
Reply to  Richard Ilfeld
October 29, 2014 9:32 am

“Saving the planet”, “Saving the children”… I guess they are adding “Saving the Insects” to that list.

Rattus Norvegicus
October 29, 2014 6:59 am

Reading the regulatory notice shows that the ingredients proposed for removal from the approved list are not longer used in pesticides.

mebbe
Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
October 29, 2014 8:54 am

That’s very helpful, Rattus.
Although your paraphrase changed “currently” to “not longer”, I bet you saw that right up there in the head-post. Maybe just two paragraphs below this;
““We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”
But, thanks, we wouldn’t have caught that important bit.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  mebbe
October 29, 2014 6:00 pm

“This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”
That says it all. Jerry, Rattus, Juan, look up the defiition of “inert”.
Jim Jones (and every other commenter here who doesn’t understand what ‘inert’ means) is a proven idiot.

Reply to  Rattus Norvegicus
October 29, 2014 11:38 am

Norway Rat,
Check out the replies to ‘Barry’. One clueless commenter is more than enough here, no need to double up.

juan
Reply to  dbstealey
October 29, 2014 11:57 am

Rattus Norvegicus is correct Mr Stealey, and you are the one that appears clueless

FerdinandAkin
October 29, 2014 7:02 am

The Environmental Protection Agency does not want to ban Argon per se; they want to ban the production of more Argon. They have found that the half-life of Argon (by using sophisticated computer models) is essentially forever.

Greg Roane
October 29, 2014 7:02 am

Maybe I missed something, but are not pesticides supposed to be … I don’t know … HAZARDOUS? It is how it is defined, no? “Pesticides” are designed to be so hazardous as to actually cause DEATH, are they not?
So, how does the EPA expect the new pesticides of the future to work? Make them water-based and DROWN the pests?

DrTorch
October 29, 2014 7:04 am

“Its hard to imagine a more inoffensive substance than Argon”
Neon.

Keitho
Editor
Reply to  DrTorch
October 29, 2014 7:14 am

Yes indeed. Neon is Argon’s very weedy and self effacing little brother. Neon reacts with absolutely nothing no matter how much you torture it.

LeeHarvey
Reply to  DrTorch
October 29, 2014 7:31 am

Neon will raise one’s voice when inhaled. I find that offensive.

Reply to  DrTorch
October 29, 2014 11:40 am

But… but, neon KILLS!
Just ask the commenters who like to point out that if you are in a room with 100% CO2, it is fatal. It’s the same with neon.
EPA: Ban neon NOW!!

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  dbstealey
October 29, 2014 4:19 pm

But these are INERT chemicals that are NO LONGER used that they INTEND to ban because they MIGHT BE hazardous! (By the way, if some chemical is “inert” it cannot be hazardous. )

c1ue
October 29, 2014 7:08 am

I also like how they include Formaldehyde. I guess no more using smoke…

Ian H
October 29, 2014 7:10 am

That’s just bizarre. I’m not even sure how you would go about adding argon to a pesticide or how you would keep it in there if you did. At room temperature it is a gas.
You guys really need to fix your system of government. Why not give democracy a try? If you had elected people in control of agencies like the EPA then you might be able to stop this kind of nonsense. I understand you guys do elect people, but they don’t control anything and spend most of their time giving speeches to empty rooms. I also understand pork is involved. (Do the Jewish representatives use lamb instead? I must confess I’m not quite clear on the whole pork thing.) Anyway if you are going to go to the bother of electing people why not get them to run the government for you? Just a thought.
The USSR used to have a similar problem of electing a bunch of people to a meaningless circus while the bureaucracy ran amok. They had all sorts of problems as a result, so they changed their system to one where criminals control everything. They haven’t looked back ever since. I don’t actually recommend the Russian system myself, although putting the Russian mafia in charge of the EPA does admittedly have some appeal. In particular having the Russian mafia deal with the person who added Argon to this list sounds to me like a pretty good idea.

tmlutas
Reply to  Ian H
October 29, 2014 7:52 am

Seal a room or a mobile chamber, pump in a mix of nitrogen and argon while reducing the oxygen content to 0.1-0.3%. Argon works better than nitrogen for some reason. It’s a 25% improvement in time before the insects die. Argon coincidentally will also kill certain fungi that will survive in a nitrogen atmosphere.

Ian H
Reply to  tmlutas
October 29, 2014 8:04 am

One minor quibble. I don’t know that this use of Argon would be classified as inactive, or indeed as an additive.
However I’m impressed by the merits of your method. You’d probably have to make sure all the EPA people were in the building before you sealed it up though, or the treatment would be ineffective.

Reply to  tmlutas
October 30, 2014 4:42 pm

As another respondent correctly states, if argon were being used in that way, it would not be considered and inert ingredient. It would have to get its own certification number for use as an active ingredient.

Just Steve
October 29, 2014 7:12 am

Remember, this is part of the same government that is populated by politicians that:
a: Want to, at the behest of big business and the Chamber of Commerce, import half the population of Nicaragua to this country, adding millions of workers that will help depress wages for said workers.
But….
b: If those same businesses built a factory in Nicaragua, and kept the profit from that factory off shore, the politicians would be indignant claiming the businesses were being unfair to American workers.
So…if you’re looking for intelligence, logic or consistency from Mordor on the Potomoc….good luck with that.

schitzree
October 29, 2014 7:13 am

First Co2. NOW argon. Who doubts that oxygen will be next?

Walt Allensworth
Reply to  schitzree
October 29, 2014 7:46 am

Naw, but oxygen will be named a “controlled substance” and it’s use will be taxed.

Jimbo
October 29, 2014 7:18 am

Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness, for no benefit whatsoever.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argon
So why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon? IceAgeNow has a theory – they think Argon is part of a list supplied by a scientifically illiterate NGO, which the EPA plans to rubber stamp.

The answer to the question is in the first paragraph.

“…do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness….”

Star Craving
Reply to  Jimbo
November 4, 2014 1:55 am

A tree is known by it’s fruit, treehuggers by their deeds.
The fruits of the EPA have grown bitter indeed.

LeeHarvey
October 29, 2014 7:23 am

Please, nobody tell them just how corrosive pure oxygen is…

October 29, 2014 7:25 am

I think that people are missing the point….
If people want to understand this “ban” you need to understand:
a) Architecture
b) Anthropology
c) Psychology
Oh I admit that understanding organic chemistry and agriculture could be useful — not to mention entomology and pesticides but the other aspects are more important…
A good architect understands exactly where to put an unneeded window based on the culture and psychology of the client. During the presentation phase the client can contribute by insisting that a window in some ludicrous/ridiculous placement be removed. Later when the client complains that the design is “wrong” the architect can pull out the review documents, show the client that the unwanted/needed window was removed and that was the only issue they raised and that they had indeed contributed — therefore — “check please”. (Cheque Please! if you’re Canuck or Brit.)
Now, I am not insisting that this is a bogus review with an intent to focus people on irrelevant issues so that the real objective of a total ban on insecticides can be levied — but then I’m not sayin’ that it ain’t either — iffin’ you know what I mean.
So they want to ban trace amounts of mercaptan — from a pesticide???? — uh-huh!
Maybe people with the appropriate knowledge should look at that list and comment on why the other substances cannot be “trace compounds” in a substance intended to poison insects — it might provide some interesting thinking time.
Maybe this is about suckering people into wasted effort. Just sayin’

hunter
Reply to  WillR
October 29, 2014 7:33 am

+1 good point. The EPA is corrupt and devious.

M Courtney
Reply to  WillR
October 29, 2014 8:32 am

WillR, this is why it pays to read all the comments. Good point.
You are spot on correct. We all look at the list and pick out the silly item that is banned.
If we are prudent we realise that banning it’s use in one context sets the precedent that “it is bad” and enables the ban to spread to other contexts.
But the real issue is the levels at which they are banned. How many of these substances are being restricted to levels that become uneconomic to measure and so must be banned entirely from any manufacturing process?

Reply to  M Courtney
October 29, 2014 10:07 am

And… if you think a little further on your own points — anything and everything can become a crime if the regulations are carefully crafted– with the subsequent heavy penalties.
Yes — it is about destroying industry — through pointless activity and regulation.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  M Courtney
October 29, 2014 10:32 am

At 1% of the atmosphere, every 23 breaths we take, one of them is argon. Surely the threshold shouldn’t below that proportion.

Richard of NZ
Reply to  WillR
October 29, 2014 2:43 pm

Assuming that mercaptans are deliberately added, this would be because the smell foul. this would act as a warning to humans and various other animals that something is not right and thus “Keep Away”. They might not be “active” in the killing of pests meaning, but they definitely have an “active” role in safety of use.
P.S. mercaptans are of course quite toxic as are most reduced sulfur compounds.

hunter
October 29, 2014 7:32 am

The EPA climate policy was written by a convicted embezzler and con-artist with no sicentific credentials.
The EPA cuts insider deal secret deals with NGOs by way of faux lawsuits to bypass the little bit of scrutiny they submit to whenever it is convenient or profitable tot he NGOs.
The EPA does not base its policies on science, but rather on the demands of big green NGOs and other non-scienctific extremists.
End the EPA as it is now organized.

Reply to  hunter
October 29, 2014 8:30 am

Hunter hit the nail on the head. I can envision a scenario where some nincompoop at the EPA decided Argon should be banned (for what ever reason) and then asked his/her buddy, Richard Windsor, who of course has nothing to do with the EPA in ANY capacity, to mention casually to a mutual friend at the “Physicians for Social Responsibility” that the EPA was looking at Argon. Lo and behold, the Physicians, and lots of their friends declare it harmful. To head off a lawsuit, the EPA complies with the NGO finding and thereby saves the taxpayers millions in legal fees. Gina McCarthy then adds those millions to the list of savings due to EPA regulation.

hunter
Reply to  George Daddis
October 29, 2014 11:53 am

And typically in these faux settlements there is a nice fee for the NGO’s troubles.

tolip ydob (There is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane)
October 29, 2014 7:39 am

Will this prevent using ‘air’ during manufacture and handling?

October 29, 2014 7:45 am

Well, a couple of others pop up on the list to my attention.
Ethane. A clear, odorless gas. C2 H6. Quite similar to methane, in fact. You know. Methane, butane, ethane, propane. And so on.
Resorcinol. A flavinoid. Can be found in tea. It is one of the natural phenols found in Argan Oil. It is a drug used in Acne medication.
http://www.drugs.com/cons/resorcinol-topical.html
From above:
Uses For resorcinol
Resorcinol is used to treat acne, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin disorders. It is also used to treat corns, calluses, and warts.
So, it can be used in medicine, but is to be banned from Pesticides.
Now, ain’t that precious?
Then there is tripoli … isn’t that Silica? (Or were they referring to the capital of Libya?)
Rotenone. Organic pesticide. It occurs naturally in the seeds of several plants, including the Jicama Vine. (Wikipedia.)
http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/rotenone.html
Some green gardeners are gonna be pissed.
Then there is Benzoyl Peroxide. The EPA must LIKE Acne, since it is used in medications to treat ACNE!
http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1344/benzoyl-peroxide-top/details
Head shake, face palm and raspberry.
Obviously, there are no chemists working at the EPA.
For crying out loud.

mark wagner
October 29, 2014 7:48 am

They not proposing to ban the use of argon in industrial settings.
They are proposing to ban the use of argon in pesticides.
While that may still be stupid, don’t create a crisis where there is none.

tmlutas
Reply to  mark wagner
October 29, 2014 7:56 am

Well, except for the few companies that use argon to kill insects infesting delicate artifacts, mostly in museums. For them it’s a problem because it increases their reporting requirements. But who cares about them. There’s filing fees to collect.

mark wagner
Reply to  tmlutas
October 29, 2014 8:28 am

My comment was directed at previous comments regarding “argon windows” and “crippling industry,” etc.
Don’t create a crisis where there is none.
While there may come a day when they attempt additional Argon regulations, however stupid that may be, this is not it.

tmlutas
Reply to  tmlutas
October 30, 2014 12:01 am

mark wagner – argon is exempt from paperwork at present due to the exemption it currently benefits from. If it’s taken off the list, it will no longer be exempt and you’ll have to file paperwork on it just like every other potentially harmful substance. No new regulation would have to be passed, the exemption removal does all the harm just by itself.
I agree that one should not “create a crisis where there is none”. We also should not be asleep at the switch when someone is doing something regulatorily noxious. Both are equivalent hazards.

Reply to  tmlutas
October 30, 2014 4:49 pm

As has been pointed out, this seems to ban the use of argon as an inert/inactive ingredient in pesticides, meaning it is in the mix for some technical reason — Ican’t imagine what, but typically inert ingredients are used to help a pesticide adhere to a surface, dry quickly, spread out thin (or not), etc. If someone is using argon as a pest control in and of itself, then it must be approved and labeled by the EPA as such. It would be an entirely separate issue.

M Courtney
Reply to  mark wagner
October 29, 2014 8:34 am

If you accept the precedent that Argon should be banned then you need to justify taking the risk in in using it for industry.
That isn’t easy.

Reply to  mark wagner
October 29, 2014 11:44 am

They are proposing to ban the use of argon in pesticides.
But, why?

Richard G
Reply to  mark wagner
October 29, 2014 11:53 pm

Mark, the point of the post was to show there is no need to remove inert ingredients from an approved list for pesticides. The fact that uses for argon was the most frequently cited here by commenters was just to show how silly it is, not that it was to banned for all uses.

harrywr2
October 29, 2014 7:49 am

There is a long list of radioactive isotopes of Argon. Most of them with extremely short half-lives.

Greg Roane
Reply to  harrywr2
October 30, 2014 11:08 am

HA! Just like the attention span of most EPA regulators.

Reply to  Greg Roane
October 30, 2014 4:50 pm

LOL, good one ther—
What was I saying?

October 29, 2014 7:57 am

If you want the Congress to spend money on something, ask them to take the funds away from the EPA. Their purpose was important, but their results amount to more harm than good. We should not be paying them any more.

Bruce Cobb
October 29, 2014 7:58 am

They not proposing to ban the use of argon in industrial settings.
Not yet anyway. Camel’s nose, tent flap etc. They are mad with power.

Robert W Turner
October 29, 2014 8:01 am

The EPA and FWS need disbanded and replaced with a citizen-scientist organization.

Clovis Marcus
October 29, 2014 8:02 am

Cornflakes are not used in pesticides so they should be on the list according to Barry.

JohnB
Reply to  Clovis Marcus
October 29, 2014 9:21 am

No!
This is about removing things from a list of approved ingredients. If cornflakes were on that list, this EPA initiative would suggest removing them from the list. Geddit?

GregK
October 29, 2014 8:09 am

The use of inert gas for grain, fruit and vegetable storage is common. Also used in museums and libraries. Bugs find it difficult to survive without oxygen.
Is an inert gas then a pesticide ?
“Inert atmosphere” means without oxygen rather than totally unreactive. Nitrogen, argon, helium, and carbon dioxide are common components of inert gas mixtures.
Will the EPA ban all of them ?
An interesting proposition

Reply to  GregK
October 30, 2014 4:58 pm

Generally, yes. Under current law, if something is sold as a pest control, it must be approved by the EPA and carry a registration number. This leads to some rather absurd results (as you might expect): for example, a gallon of bleach sold just for laundry use needs no EPA Reg. number. But if the the label of the bleach mentions that it cleans AND disinfects — then yes, it must show the EPA number!
Also, “inert” in the context of pest control products has a specialized meaning: it does NOT mean “inert” in the sense you say “inert gas”. An inert ingredient in a pest control is simply one which is not itself being used as a pesticide in the mix. It will be some sort of carrier for the actual pesticide, helping it to adhere, or disperse, or volatilize, or mix or emulsify better or something.
And yes, counterintuitive as it may seem, if an inert gas (in the scientific meaning) is used as you are describing to kill things, it becomes an “active ingredient” and must likewise carry an EPA Reg. number!

October 29, 2014 8:13 am

Perhaps it does make a little sense. This is actually house cleaning of sorts, I guess:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558-0001
>>> EPA is proposing to remove certain chemical substances from the current listing of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products because the inert ingredients are no longer used in any registered pesticide product. <<<
So I guess what they are doing is removing them from the inert listing so if in the future they are ever used, they have to be put back on the list. That way there has to be lots of hearings and lots of submissions before it can be used ever again.
But then again, this is the EPA. Who know what they are doing? They surely do not.

October 29, 2014 8:19 am

Not only is Argon useful, this proposed ban of Argon is also very useful.
“False in one, False in all.”

If you believe that any witness or party willfully or knowingly testified falsely to any material facts in the case, with intent to deceive you, you may give such weight to his or her testimony as you may deem it is entitled. You may believe some of it, or you may, in your discretion, disregard all of it.
–SEE STATE V. ERNST, 32 N.J. 567 (1960)).

If the EPA can be so wrong about one, Argon, it can be wrong about everything.
Argon can and should be used to dismantle Massachusetts v. EPA (2007)

Reply to  Stephen Rasey
October 30, 2014 5:02 pm

Wow. That’s pretty far out there. This isn’t saying anything about the hazard or utility of argon, just that it no longer on the list of approved inert ingredients in pesticides. Mainly because it isn’t used any more anyway.

LogosWrench
October 29, 2014 8:21 am

Next up Oxygen because it “oxidizes” things.
I mean without oxygen there wouldn’t be rust or forest fires. Look how nasty that stuff is.
This government is totally out of control.
Ridiculous.

more soylent green!
Reply to  LogosWrench
October 29, 2014 8:55 am

Why do the health Naz_s always tell us to take more antioxidants? Antioxidants stop oxidation. Oxidation causes aging, tumors and lack of sexual vigor. Oxidation comes from oxygen. No oxygen, no oxidation. Oxygen kills. Eliminate oxygen now!

Just an engineer
Reply to  more soylent green!
October 29, 2014 11:18 am

Makes sense! Stop breathing = Stop Aging!

Sasha
October 29, 2014 8:24 am

Why is Resorcinol on the list? It is an antiseptic, a disinfectant and sterilizer. You can find Resorcinol in treatments for acne and a wide range of skin complaints, in tea, and in throat lozenges.

Curt
October 29, 2014 8:35 am

But the argon in the atmosphere is the product of radioactive decay (of potassium 40). So it must be dangerous…

Stephen Richards
October 29, 2014 8:39 am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public comment on a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products.
Am I reading this correctly. There is the adjective “inert” in front of ingredients.?

Jensen
October 29, 2014 8:39 am

This is quite incomprehensible and I must say that the US has trumped the UK in the stupidity stakes with this one.
For the moment anyway…

1saveenergy
Reply to  Jensen
October 30, 2014 4:27 pm

Naw, UK will turn out stupider than USA, we’ve got Millysband, DickEd Davey, Cleg & Camoron

cnxtim
October 29, 2014 8:41 am

The primary pollutant to general well being in the USA right now begins in the White House. Get rid of these ratbags
ASAP!

October 29, 2014 8:42 am

The EPA isn’t going far enough with just Argon. Di-hydrogen monoxide kills countless numbers of people every year when they are exposed to very large amounts of it. And this poison also is known to do countless millions if not billions of dollars in property damage every year as well.
I’m going to start my own eco-NGO and give the EPA my list of chemicals and substances that should be banned. Di-hydrogen monoxide will be at the top of that list.
And while I’m at it, I think I’ll put that evil demonic nitrogen on the list too. /sarc

thomam
October 29, 2014 8:43 am

Something not being in current use is no reason to remove it from a list of permitted ingredients. Presumably it’s accepted to be safe – otherwise you’d ask some sort of environmental protection agency to do some sort of study to find out.
Removing it now is, in reality, forever. No-one is going to bother with the time, effort, cost and NGO objection-fest needed to get it back on the permitted list, Sneaky and insidious.

Alx
Reply to  thomam
October 29, 2014 9:38 am

Well I see alot of opportunity for start up businesses that will now need to study Argon safety.
Hold on, I need to start my application for an Argon testing grant. It is titled “Argon safety in Industrilaized Societies”. The title alone has to be worth a few dollars of grant money.

thomam
Reply to  Alx
October 30, 2014 2:10 am

If you title it “Argon safety and climatic impacts” you’ll probably get the EPA to fund it…

joeldshore
October 29, 2014 8:54 am

The EPA didn’t ban argon. By removing argon from the approved list of inert ingredients for pesticides, it just means that a company who decides to use it would have to get its use approved (http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558-0001):

EPA maintains a list of chemical substances that have been approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products. Inert ingredients on this list do not need further approval prior to inclusion in a pesticide formulation for a non-food use.

Once an inert ingredient is removed from the list, any proposed future use of the inert ingredient would need to be supported by data provided to and reviewed by the EPA as part of a new inert ingredient submission request.

They specifically chose to remove inert ingredients that are not currently being used in any pesticide formulation and, in fact, their comments asks companies to check and confirm that they got it right and that indeed these substances are not currently being used:

The list of 72 inert ingredients was generated by an Agency evaluation of pesticide product compositional information to determine which of those 371 chemical substances listed as inert ingredients on the EPA-approved list are in use or not in use in currently registered pesticide formulations.

EPA suggests that pesticide registrants review their records to ensure that the chemical substances, listed by chemical name and Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number, listed in the docket for this action are, in fact, no longer used as inert ingredients in their registered pesticide products. While EPA has endeavored to prepare an accurate list, if a pesticide registrant is aware of a registered product containing any of the 72 chemical substances, that registrant should contact the Agency directly, using the contact listed underFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT(Chemical Listing Inquiries).

It is not entirely clear to me what the EPA’s motivation is for removing from the list substances that are not actually being used, but I assume it has something to do with streamlining their workload in insuring that pre-approved inert ingredients are in fact safe. Their justification is probably something to the effect of “Why try to keep up with whether a substance is safe to use when it is not being used anyway?”
I can understand that it may seem intuitively obvious that argon is safe and its removal from the list may seem bureaucratic. But, the fact is that government agencies are bureaucratic, as are any large organization, such as a large company (heck, some might argue that “large” means greater than, maybe, about 10 people).
I hope that you will correct the headline of this post since it is quite inaccurate to claim that argon is being banned by the EPA.

John M
Reply to  joeldshore
October 29, 2014 11:05 am

Of course it’s not banned. It’s just not approved for use.
Need to be a scientavist to understand the nuance.

joeldshore
Reply to  John M
October 29, 2014 4:29 pm

Since you seem so confused by these distinctions, let me help you:
(1) This rule only applies to the use of argon as an inert ingredient in pesticides, where it is no longer currently used. Hence, the following statement in this post is completely irrelevant: “But Argon is incredibly useful to industry – among other things, is used as a “shield” gas. Anyone who welds Aluminium or Stainless Steel will be familiar with Argon, which is used with MIG and TIG welders, to blow oxygen away from the electric welding arc, to prevent oxidative damage to the weld joint.”
(2) There is a difference between a substance being banned and having to ask permission before using a substance. If you told your teenager that they had to ask your permission before taking the family car, do you think it would be accurate for the teenager to claim that you had banned his using the car?
(3) Read this comment for more explanation of what the EPA is doing here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/29/the-epa-jumps-the-shark-banning-argon/#comment-1774371
Basically, I think we are at the point now where Anthony needs to admit that it is he who jumped the shark, jumping to wildly incorrect conclusions based more on his own beliefs about the EPA than anything else.

John M
Reply to  John M
October 29, 2014 6:33 pm

If my teenager used to have permission to drive the car and I took it away, I think most sane people would view that as a bad. Of course, insane people sometimes think sane people are confusing.

John M
Reply to  John M
October 29, 2014 6:34 pm

bad –> ban.

Reply to  John M
October 30, 2014 5:16 pm

Well you’re not exactly “banning” something that isn’t being used anyway. Yes, it’s semantics, but it’s accurate. Might as well say that whale oil is banned as an automobile fuel.

mpainter
Reply to  joeldshore
October 29, 2014 12:25 pm

Joeldshore:
Once Argon is removed from the approval list it is banned in practical effect, because if someone wishes to use it, they must go through the lengthy, cumbersome and expensive process of an EPA review. And when they do so, one fine day a fellow will show up at their HQ office and say:
“We of the Sierra Club oppose your application for a permit to use Argon as an inert ingredient in your product. However, if you contribute $2 million to the Sierra Club, we will withdraw our opposition.
This is how it works in our society and for thirty years the EPA has worked hand in glove with the Sierra Club thugs. And guess how much $ the Sierra Club thugs have been granted by poohtus, under this and that grant

mpainter
Reply to  mpainter
October 29, 2014 12:34 pm

And guess how much of that money finds its way back into the hedge accounts ($ HongKong) of certain
elected officials and EPA officials?
No, Virginia, you must not sit in Santa’s lap without your chasity belt fastened.

mebbe
Reply to  joeldshore
October 29, 2014 7:16 pm

You’re right about the term “banned”.
I don’t think your assumption about their motivation is very imaginative.
EPA has maintained a list of approved inert ingredients. They have criteria for approval; principally, focused on the absence of residues in food products.
Removing Argon from that list is a statement that those approval criteria are not deemed adequate for those 72 substances or elements, although there continue to be many inert ingredients on the approved list.
All of this was initiated by pressure from focus groups. It’s naive to think that bureaucracies will self-correct eventually, especially when demands come from just one side.
Technically, the question mark at the end of the headline obviates your desired correction.

Reply to  mebbe
October 30, 2014 5:21 pm

“Removing Argon from that list is a statement that those approval criteria are not deemed adequate for those 72 substances or elements”
No, the substances being removed from the lists are not being used any longer, anyway, and it seems like they are trying very hard to ensure that none of them are still being used before removing them. I would think this is something we could get behind; a government body is getting rid of unnecessary regulations!

Harold
October 29, 2014 8:55 am

Next to be banned: helium.
Mickey Mouse was unavailable for comment.

Billy Liar
October 29, 2014 8:59 am

I like another one on the list: ‘Trimellitic acid andydride’. There’s no such thing. You’d think on an important regulatory document they would go to the trouble of checking the spelling of the chemicals they seek to regulate/free from regulation: ‘andydrides’ are not found on this planet ‘anhydrides’ are.

Mike Smith
October 29, 2014 9:28 am

We can’t leave dangerous chemicals unregulated, even if they’re noble.
What I want to know is… why isn’t the EPA focused on regulating nitrogen. The levels of nitrogen pollution in our atmosphere are horrifying. And we have all of these places like Costco Tire Centers injecting nitrogen into our vehicles without adequate protection against leakage.It’s totally irresponsible. Don’t they care about our children? Just say No to N.

Richard G
Reply to  Mike Smith
October 30, 2014 12:10 am

You can leave the nitrogen in the air I breathe, just remove the nitrogen oxides.

John
October 29, 2014 9:30 am

“Idiocracy” at its finest.

Resourceguy
October 29, 2014 9:33 am

In the absence of a leadership czar (President), NGOs rule from the shadows.

Alx
October 29, 2014 9:33 am

Well at least we know now, there isn’t a soul at the EPA who has passed freshman chemistry. I guess that is transparency of sorts.

Taphonomic
October 29, 2014 9:39 am

“So why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon?”
Because they can.

Brock Way
October 29, 2014 9:40 am

So the solution here is to answer “yes” to any question by the EPA about whether you use something or not. Because if you say “not any more”, then the EPA will remove it from the approved list, and you won’t be able to use it any more.

AJB
October 29, 2014 9:43 am

EPA party balloons will have to go first, surely …
http://www.livescience.com/38990-looming-helium-shortage.html

October 29, 2014 9:44 am

One of the roots of such wasteful, foolish, thuggish, and tyrannous government is the ease with which it can create almost unlimited amounts of money out of thin air. Near-infinite money buys near-infinite government, and a bureaucracy that is generously funded can entertain an open-ended dream about how to expand its realm.
Every day more people are coming to the judgment that a carefully organized effort to repair the constitution via the States’ power to propose and ratify amendments has less risk to our liberty and prosperity than the present trajectory of the federal government and especially the federal bureaucracy.
The first order of business of an Article V Convention must be to limit government’s ability to create and spend near-infinite amounts of money.

Alan Robertson
October 29, 2014 9:49 am

The most discouraging aspect of this report is that it serves as a reminder that the EPA is fully committed to bringing POTUS’ agenda to fruition.

Chris
October 29, 2014 9:58 am

And they want to ban tripoli! Yes, I know it’s a silica based rock, but to want to ban a whole city!!!???!!! That’s a ballsy move, even for a fed.

Frank
October 29, 2014 10:01 am

Why does the EPA ignore this settled science and yet pay attention to the climate science which everyone now admits is unsettled. Other than smoking, coffee may be the most hazardous thing in our environment.
Bruce N. Ames (inventor of Ames Test for carcinogens), Lois Swirsky Gold
Biotherapy (1998), Volume 11, Issue 2-3, pp 205-220
The Causes and Prevention of Cancer: The Role of Environment
The idea that synthetic chemicals such as DDT are major contributors to human cancer has been inspired, in part, by Rachel Carson’s passionate book, Silent Spring. This chapter discusses evidence showing why this is not true. We also review research on the causes of cancer, and show why much cancer is preventable.
Epidemiological evidence indicates several factors likely to have a major effect on reducing rates of cancer: reduction of smoking, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, and control of infections. Other factors are avoidance of intense sun exposure, increases in physical activity, and reduction of alcohol consumption and possibly red meat. Already, risks of many forms of cancer can be reduced and the potential for further reductions is great. If lung cancer (which is primarily due to smoking) is excluded, cancer death rates are decreasing in the United States for all other cancers combined.
Pollution appears to account for less than 1% of human cancer; yet public concern and resource allocation for chemical pollution are very high, in good part because of the use of animal cancer tests in cancer risk assessment. Animal cancer tests, which are done at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), are being misinterpreted to mean that low doses of synthetic chemicals and industrial pollutants are relevant to human cancer. About half of the chemicals tested, whether synthetic or natural, are carcinogenic to rodents at these high doses. A plausible explanation for the high frequency of positive results is that testing at the MTD frequently can cause chronic cell killing and consequent cell replacement, a risk factor for cancer that can be limited to high doses. Ignoring this greatly exaggerates risks. Scientists must determine mechanisms of carcinogenesis for each substance and revise acceptable dose levels as understanding advances.
The vast bulk of chemicals ingested by humans is natural. For example, 99.99% of the PESTICIDES WE EAT are naturally present in plants to ward off insects and other predators. Half of these natural pesticides tested at the MTD are rodent carcinogens. Reducing exposure to the 0.01% that are SYNTHETIC will not reduce cancer rates. On the contrary, although fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of naturally-occurring chemicals that are rodent carcinogens, inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables doubles the human cancer risk for most types of cancer. Making them more expensive by reducing synthetic pesticide use will increase cancer. Humans also ingest large numbers of natural chemicals from cooking food. OVER A THOUSAND CHEMICALS HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN ROAST COFFEE: MORE THAN HALF OF THOSE TESTED (19/28) ARE RODENT CARCINOGENS. There are MORE RODENT CARCINOGENS IN A SINGLE CUP OF COFFEE than potentially carcinogenic pesticide residues in the average American diet in a year, and there are still a thousand chemicals left to test in roasted coffee. This does not mean that coffee is dangerous but rather that animal cancer tests and worst-case risk assessment, build in enormous safety factors and should not be considered true risks.
The reason humans can eat the tremendous variety of natural chemical “rodent carcinogens” is that humans, like other animals, are extremely well protected by many general defense enzymes, most of which are inducible (i.e., whenever a defense enzyme is in use, more of it is made). Since the DEFENSE ENZYMES ARE EQUALLY EFFECTIVE AGAINST NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS, one does not expect, nor does one find, a general difference between synthetic and natural chemicals in ability to cause cancer in high-dose rodent tests.
The idea that there is an epidemic of human cancer caused by synthetic industrial chemicals is false. In addition, there is a steady rise in life expectancy in the developed countries. Linear extrapolation from the maximum tolerated dose in rodents to low level exposure in humans has led to grossly exaggerated mortality forecasts.
Such extrapolations can not be verified by epidemiology. Furthermore, relying on such extrapolations for synthetic chemicals while ignoring the enormous natural background, leads to an imbalanced perception of hazard and allocation of resources. It is the progress of scientific research and technology that will continue to lengthen human life expectancy.
Zero exposure to rodent carcinogens cannot be achieved. Low levels of rodent carcinogens of natural origin are ubiquitous in the environment. It is thus impossible to obtain conditions totally free of exposure to rodent carcinogens or to background radiation. Major advances in analytical techniques enable the detection of extremely low concentrations of all substances, whether natural or synthetic, often thousands of times lower than could be detected 30 years ago.
Risks compete with risks: society must distinguish between significant and trivial risks. Regulating trivial risks or exposure to substances erroneously inferred to cause cancer at low-doses, can harm health by diverting resources from programs that could be effective in protecting the health of the public. Moreover, wealth creates health: poor people have shorter life expectancy than wealthy people. When money and resources are wasted on trivial problems, society’s wealth and hence health is harmed.

Joseph Murphy
October 29, 2014 10:05 am

On the graphs that show the composition of the atmosphere, why is water vapor always left out? Too variable for a stagnant chart so pretend it doesn’t exist?

Reply to  Joseph Murphy
October 29, 2014 1:29 pm

Hardly ‘always’! Usually the tables are for a ‘dry’ atmosphere and this is clearly indicated, also the range of water contribution is usually given in a footnote.
The following is typical:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth
Some show the composition including water, e.g.:
http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html

October 29, 2014 10:06 am

I can explain. Under FIFRA (Federal Insecticide Fungicide,Rodenticide Act) the registrant of a pesticide can change, subtract and even in some cases add inerts to the statement of formula through the notification process. All these items will still be allowed in pesticides, but they will not be allowed as inerts. They will be listed as active ingredients and be controlled through the approval process. It is not a huge deal just more work for registrants. They will have less flexibility changing statements of formula.

Reply to  willybamboo
October 29, 2014 10:58 am

So, an inert gas “will not be allowed as inert”: EPA has a power to change the basics of chemistry? How, exactly, an addition of argon to a pesticide could make a pesticide more toxic? Your explanation… what, exactly, does it explain? That bureaucrats, as usual, have no clue about what they are doing? We knew that without your explanation, thank you.

Paul Westhaver
October 29, 2014 10:17 am

Well I think the EPA A$$h0les have figured out that by using argon as a propellant, other substances, heretofore not yet under their jurisdiction, can be used to circumvent their existing restrictions…?
Or… Argon is becoming a strategic substance so this is a back door to restrict its use?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
October 29, 2014 10:23 am

ok… too common to be strategic…scratch that.

October 29, 2014 10:50 am

My friend was going to make a joke about this ruling but he said all the best ones argon.

mpainter
Reply to  Paul in Sweden
October 29, 2014 2:14 pm

Ha ha that’s one for slapping your knee on.

October 29, 2014 10:51 am

Trimellitic acid andydride?
Oh, that mischievous Andy, and his corrosive personality!

Barbara Skolaut
October 29, 2014 10:53 am

“Any effort to regulate the use of this harmless substance would do incalculable damage to American industrial competitiveness, for no benefit whatsoever.”
For the EPA clowns, that’s a feature, not a bug. >:-(

tourets
October 29, 2014 11:03 am

Evidently part of the logic for removal is a conclusion that some of the inert chemicals are not currently being used in commercially available pesticides.
Argon is useful as a propellant, as is Nitrous Oxide used as a propellant in food manufacturing also scheduled for removal.
It seems premature to remove these inert propellants merely because current formulations do not use them.

tumpy
October 29, 2014 11:13 am

They should ban that nasty dihydrogen monoxide whilst they are at it – It can burn the skin, and can be deadly if inhaled!!!

janets
October 29, 2014 11:26 am

“An inert ingredient is any substance that is intentionally included in a pesticide that is not an active ingredient.”
Soooo … I look forward to when they try this with pharmaceutical excipients too >.>
I don’t even.

richard
October 29, 2014 11:28 am

hope they are not going to ban co2 next.
http://www.johnsongas.com/industrial/co2gen.asp

richard
Reply to  richard
October 29, 2014 11:49 am

I posted this over at hotwhopper, they replied they were going to leave it up to show how dumb I am. No sense of humor over there.

Frank Kotler
October 29, 2014 12:23 pm

We have entered the secret pirate lair, but all the pirates arrrgon.

old engineer
October 29, 2014 12:37 pm

Folks, as wyoskeptic says at October 29, 2014 at 10:23, settle down and read. The EPA is not proposing to ban the use argon, even in pesticides.
Our host here at WUWT certainly is busy person, running one of the most read blogs in the world, while working to provide for his family. He can’t research everything fully. That’s were we loyal readers come in. It is we who need to do the background research. And from my 30 years of dealing with the EPA, I can tell you that the “devil is in the details.”
You have to read the NPRM’s and the supporting documents if you want to understand what is going on. This take a lot of time and work. So commenters, before shooting off your mouth, read. Give Anthony the help he needs. My next comment will be addressed to Anthony telling him what I have found in my search for details.

old engineer
October 29, 2014 12:38 pm

Anthony-
As far as I can ascertain, This is what this EPA notice is all about.
Back in 2006, several organizations petitioned the EPA to require the label listing of 371 inert ingredients in pesticides that they considered hazardous. In 2009 the EPA granted the petition and initiated the rule making process by issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM).
Long story made short. The EPA had lots of problems with this approach, and found after some research that people didn’t read the labels anyway. So they looked for a different approach.
To quote from a EPA letter of May 22, 2014 from James J. Jones, Assistant EPA Administrator:
“I believe that the EPA can achieve greater reduction in the risks from use of pesticides containing
potentially hazardous inert ingredients through a series of non-rule actions designed to reduce the
presence of hazardous inert ingredients in specific pesticide products. Moreover, I expect that the agency
would be able to develop and implement these actions in a timelier manner than rulemaking. I therefore
intend to pursue a combination of regulatory and focused non-regulatory actions that do not rely on
rulemaking. “
See: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558-0003
The first thing on the to-do list for the EPA was to revise the list of approved inert ingredients, to remove those that were no longer used, so that the EPA wouldn’t have to consider them further. That’s what this request for comments is all about: Does anyone object to removing these elements and compounds from further consideration of being hazardous?
So in this case, no, the EPA is not proposing to ban argon.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  old engineer
October 29, 2014 2:18 pm

So if I understand you properly the list of inert substances will no longer include Argon, therefore Argon will no longer fall under the EPA purview?

DonM
Reply to  old engineer
October 29, 2014 5:56 pm

Yes, I do think that the EPA should have to take the time to include these 72 potential product constituents in its review of what should be banned.
The EPA is starting the process of analyzing and removing specific ingredients from its current approved list (they were supposed to start this in 2006 but they have been too busy with C02 and other very important regulatory stuff that superseded true public protection). The EPA wants to do an end run around the process by stating that they (approved inert ingredients) aren’t used and therefore they (EPA) shouldn’t have to follow rulemaking process; why not just save the 72 ingredients for last in their analysis … why pull them out in the beginning?
Lets just say that after analysis we find that half of the approved inert ingredients (outside of the 72) are bad and need to go away. Who is to say that some of the 72 unused ingredients couldn’t have been used as a cheap safe replacement … SORRY, the damage has already been done … now you need to spend a few million dollars to prove to the EPA that argon is not “safe at any speed”.
Right now the turd is in the EPAs pocket. They don’t like it there and are trying to get rid of it.
The more of the EPA budget that is spent on reviewing inert ingredients to determine if they are unsafe the better … less budget available for polar bear protection.

Mike A
October 29, 2014 12:39 pm

Surely it’s obvious. Behind all of this are people that know only too well what to ‘ban’ to create disruption and dismantle the developed western world. Apologies if that sounds conspiratorial but that’s the only thing that makes any sense. It started with the ozone layer stuff and the banning of fluoro/chloro carbons (the stuff that that screws up is much more than AC and aerosol cans.) So if this current one ‘bites’ no more argon arc welding, inert gas blanketing when processing metals, etc. etc. The non-scientific thickos in our administrations (I wonder how many are in the know) just rubber stamp it. I’m afraid the cuckoos are truly in the nest and have been for some while.

Michael J. Dunn
October 29, 2014 12:40 pm

Very amusing, and I have no sympathy for banning something from present or future use, which was found acceptable for past use (“Forbid all buggy whips!”). But there are some interesting biological effects from otherwise “inert” gases.
Nitrogen, under pressure, produces the dangerous “nitrogen narcosis” encountered in SCUBA diving.
Xenon, at sufficient concentration, is an ideal anesthetic.
The mentioned use of argon in fumigation is news to me, but illustrates the point.
Some of these effects may be related to the size of the molecule itself, and its solubility in tissue. There is no chemistry to speak of, but an ability to interfere with or impede normal biochemical processes.

DonM
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
October 29, 2014 6:04 pm

I had rather enjoyed my time with nitrogen narcosis … no hangover, no damage, everybody happy.
Sweat drenched work in a below zero freezer is a slightly safer environment than SCUBA diving.

Lil Fella from OZ
October 29, 2014 12:48 pm

It would be easier to straight out ban mankind! Problem solved.
Aluminium welding could become difficult without Argon.

October 29, 2014 12:55 pm

In the food production industry they use Argon gas to keep fruit and veggies fresh in a sealed package.

Reply to  Sparks
October 29, 2014 1:07 pm

Only they are not fresh when they are being sold. They are tasteless.
Argon is inert all right but the fruit itself contains substances that react with each other.
The fruit section in an American supermarket is a petrified orchard.

Reply to  Alexander Feht
October 29, 2014 3:29 pm

Alexander,
You seem to misunderstand how Argon is used, the process involves using Argon to remove the oxygen from the packaging and removing the oxygen extends the shelf life of the fruit or veg, having no oxygen in the package has no effect on the taste or appearance of the produce, it’s very safe and it means less fruit and veg is wasted. This is the only reason it is classed as a preservative.

mebbe
Reply to  Alexander Feht
October 29, 2014 11:17 pm

So, when it’s 20 below and dark for 14 hours a day, you go into a supermarket and whine because the apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and avocados are tasteless and a petrified orchard.
Enjoy your turnips, you ingrate, though they’re not fresh, either.

Richard G
Reply to  Alexander Feht
October 30, 2014 12:22 am

I love to browse the petrified orchard section of the supermarket. It’s better than the smell of napalm in the morning.

Reply to  Alexander Feht
October 30, 2014 4:51 pm

Sparks,
Before explaining the obvious, read my message.
Repeat: the fruit itself contains substances that react with each other. The longer you keep the fruit in storage, the less it resembles fresh fruit when being sold, no matter in what inert atmosphere it is being kept. Everyone who ever tasted a fresh, ripe fruit, knows that what is being sold in American supermarkets is tasteless. Americans are fed artificial, terrible foods containing all kinds of preservatives and additives that make them obese and unhealthy. I don’t see any reason for being “grateful” when I spend money honestly earned by hard work for something that would go straight into the garbage container in most third-world countries.
To those who say that I should be “grateful” for seeing apples and bananas at night in the winter, I say this: however dysfunctional and oppressive is Russian society, in every Russian city you can find, almost on every street, a small food store that works 24 hours a day, in any kind of weather (down to minus 40 degrees), and offers a multitude of foods, including fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables, thousand times tastier than anything you can find in the Western supermarket, Unfortunately, generations of people in the USA don’t even know, how real food tastes and looks. Only UK is worse in this respect.
But there are always natural-born slaves who are “grateful” for whatever imitation food they are gobbling up.

M SEward
October 29, 2014 1:24 pm

Banning Argon after it is no longer used.
And what a headline! “EPA ACTION SAVES WORLD FROM MASS EXTERMINATION BY DEADLY ARGON GAS”.

Kt
October 29, 2014 1:42 pm

The EPA is proposing to review the inert ingredients currently used by pesticide manufacturers for potential risks to human and/or environmental health (“inert” doesn’t mean the substance is harmless to humans or the planet; it just means it’s not actively harming the pests that the product is targeting).
It’s a long list, so to start, they’re removing any ingredients that are no longer in use, so that they can focus on assessing the toxicity of ingredients that actually are in use.
Since argon isn’t used as a pesticide inert ingredient, the impact on American industry is basically zero. Your comment about the utility of argon in industrial welding applications is irrelevant, unless welders are now using long-obsolete spray-cans of argon-containing pesticide to flush oxygen away from their welding arcs.
Moreover, substances taken off the list wouldn’t be banned. If for some reason a pesticide manufacturers decides in the future to reintroduce argon as an inert ingredient in some future formulation, they’ll merely have to request that the EPA subject argon to the same assessment of toxicity that the EPA will have conducted on other pesticide inert ingredients.

John M
Reply to  Kt
October 29, 2014 2:14 pm

“merely”? Do you really believe any request to EPA to reactivate an ingredient would in any way be within a light year of the word “merely”?

Bill 2
Reply to  Kt
October 29, 2014 2:15 pm

That’s too logical. Give me back my conspiracy theories!

Reply to  Kt
October 29, 2014 3:43 pm

Argon isn’t used as a pesticide ingredient.

GregK
Reply to  Sparks
October 29, 2014 6:42 pm

Is a fumigant, or asphyxiant, a pesticide ?
eg http://www.ehow.com/how_7925929_use-gas-kill-bed-bugs.html

Reply to  GregK
October 29, 2014 8:13 pm

Can you fumigate or asphyxiate bugs/insects with Argon?
Argon is not a “fumigant” nor an “asphyxiant” anymore than any heavy gas. A pesticide will kill bugs, Argon does not.

DonM
Reply to  Kt
October 29, 2014 6:14 pm

Why not just leave the 72 “unused” ingredients for last? Better yet why not take an educated guess and prioritize the entire list?
If it is true that they will have trouble focusing on the potential toxicity of the “non-72” while the 72 are still on the list then mebbe we need to get them a big bag of Ritalin.
In addition (and more seriously): The more of the EPA budget that is spent on reviewing inert ingredients to determine if they are unsafe, the better … less budget available for polar bear protection.

John M
October 29, 2014 2:18 pm

Maybe the EPA is just as poor at spelling as this nuts and berries purveyor of “natural products”.
http://www.planetnatural.com/product/organic-argon-oil/

Jaakko Kateenkorva
October 29, 2014 2:19 pm

If an assistant administrator publishes a consultation, now wonder cresol and phthalates are in the same list with argon.

October 29, 2014 2:48 pm

It looks like from this statement that if they are not going to ban it, they are going to regulate it:
“We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”
The next step is to ban it (like CO2).
“Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety…” What’s he going to ban next, the mixture of Kool-Aid and Cyanide?…oh wait…

David L.
October 29, 2014 2:58 pm

Ethane is on the list?
When can we ban the EPA? They’ve far outlived their usefulness.

Man Bearpig
October 29, 2014 3:05 pm

Perhaps they got muddled up with Krypton. That is dangerous to some alien superheroes

Mike Maguire
October 29, 2014 3:07 pm

Argon gas is used as a fumigant in several different environments, where conventional pesticides with potential residuals might prove hazardous or cause future contact with humans.
I’m guessing that argon gas can continue to be used as a fumigant.
http://dialonepestcontrol.com/pest-control/bed-bugs/luggage-treatment/
http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/inertgases.pdf

Ed Zuiderwijk
October 29, 2014 3:32 pm

The EPA has been relocated to Springfield and is now operating under the leadership of Krusty.

willhaas
October 29, 2014 4:04 pm

If they are going to ban Ar then they need to ban DHMO as well. DHMO is a very potent greenhouse gas and much more reactive then Ar. There is a huge pool of liquefied DHMO near my house which is allowed to evaporate into the air we breathe The EPA needs to completely remove that pool. N2 holds more heat in our atmosphere then any other gas. N2 is a very inefficient LWIR radiator to space so it holds heat much longer than CO2 or H2O. It is much more reactive than Ar so it should be banned too. O2 is also a poor LWIR radiator to space and even more reactive than Ar, it should be banned. People need to be protected from inhaling these terrible gases. People usually fill their tires with a mixture of gases that includes Ar. That needs to be stopped. People should also not be allowed in any structures where Ar is present..

Richard G
Reply to  willhaas
October 30, 2014 12:27 am

I like to dive into pools of DHMO, preferably before they evaporate.

JFA in Montreal
October 29, 2014 4:40 pm

A friend of mine *seriously* explained to a politician the nature of Nitrogen. The politician (possibly Sweedish) thought it would be smart to pass a law banning and limiting it’s use. Somehow, the idiotic yet seemingly honest and good-willed politician genuinely believed that nitrogen was a bad thing. My friend did not know how this politician got to hold his beliefs. From what I recall (unreliably), he also thought it would increase his political capital to be seen as pro-environment.

dennis dunton
October 29, 2014 5:00 pm

Anthony…..Old Engineer is dead on the money. This post and resulting comments will probably define the low point for this blog and various commenters . Argon is NOT being BANNED. If you want to weld , make light bulbs, use as a propellant, make windows with it, or use for ANY PURPOSE you may; EXCEPT use as an INERT ingredient in a PESTICIDE, which I doubt you could anyway as they are all either powders or liquids.

Sciguy54
October 29, 2014 5:02 pm

“This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”
And has the EPA demonstrated a scenario wherein argon, for example, could be a “hazardous” inert ingredient in pesticides? Lacking a concrete example it would be time to bring in the “illegal overreach” patrol. The agency should not be allowed to define what is a permissible activity, only to proscribe environmentally hazardous activities as limited by its charter.

October 29, 2014 5:18 pm

Sounds like the waste water standards.
The acceptable concentration of Fluoride in treated waste water is less than that in city water.
Makes treating city waste water another SNAFU.

Ibidem
October 29, 2014 5:23 pm

Skimming the replies, I get the impression a lot of readers are not acquainted with pesticide regulations; this is not surprising, since the laws are pretty extensive and rarely studied (not being relevant to most people). I’ll try to provide some background.
The EPA has to approve pesticides before they can be marketed.
This includes new “formulations” (mixes of ingredients), unless all changed ingredients are on a list of inert substances.
This list was assembled decades ago, and many of the “inert substances” on the list have since been found to be “active” (ie, they can directly kill some pests).
So, the EPA has been in the process of removing the not-really-inert substances from the list.
When a substance is removed from the list, it is not banned. It “only” makes pesticide reformulations involving the substance go through EPA testing again.
It d