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]

353 thoughts on “The EPA jumps the shark, banning – ARGON ?

  1. 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

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

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

      • “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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • “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.

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

    • 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.

      • “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”

    • 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)

    • 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!”

      • 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.

      • 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!

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

    • 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?

      • 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.

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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

  2. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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….

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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)

  7. 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.

    • They are not proposing to ban argon in industrial settings.

      They are proposing to ban the use of argon in pesticides. Only.

      • 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?

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

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

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

      • 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.

      • 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. 8-)

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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,”

    • 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

      • 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.

      • 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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?

      • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 ?

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  15. 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 !

  16. 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

    • “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.” >:-(

  17. ”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”

    • 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

    • ”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.

    • 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.”

    • 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.

    • “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.

    • 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?

    • @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.

    • 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.

  23. 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.

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

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

    • 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.

      • “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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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!!

      • 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. )

  27. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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….”

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

  30. 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’

    • 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?

      • 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.

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

    • 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.

  31. 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.

    • 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.

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

    • 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?

  38. 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

    • 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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)

    • 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.

  41. 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.

    • 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!

  42. 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.

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

  44. 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.?

  45. 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…

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

  47. 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

  48. 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.

    • 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.

  49. 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.

    • Of course it’s not banned. It’s just not approved for use.

      Need to be a scientavist to understand the nuance.

      • 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: https://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.

      • 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • “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!

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

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

    Because they can.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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?

  60. 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.

    • 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.

  61. 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?

  62. “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. >:-(

  63. 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.

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

  65. “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.

    • 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

    • 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?

    • 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

  71. Banning Argon after it is no longer used.

    And what a headline! “EPA ACTION SAVES WORLD FROM MASS EXTERMINATION BY DEADLY ARGON GAS”.

  72. 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.

    • “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”?

    • 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.

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

  74. 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…

  75. 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..

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. “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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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 does not affect use of the substance outside pesticides.

    That said, there is no reason I could think of for argon to be removed from the list. And sending a pesticide through EPA testing again can be expensive and time consuming.

    • Thanks for the helpful info, Ibidem. As you noted, in the best of situations, sending a pesticide through EPA testing again can be expensive and time consuming.

      Unfortunately, we now have a radicalized federal government run by a man who literally taught the teachings of Alinsky. When an agency has the power to approve/disapprove an activity, you can now count on collusion between greens and embedded activists, in the form of all sorts of non-linear disruptive tactics. One such tactic used to great effect by the EPA has been “sue and settle”. Once this tactic has been employed, any entity caught in the crossfire is subject to the rulings of motivated judges or the scheming of factions within the agency, and all bets are off, especially appeals to reason.

      Normally, in a free society, protection from such abuses of power would come from an aggressive and independent press. Today I would not count on it.

  81. Does anyone know where the original list of 371 chemicals might be found?
    I’m curious what’s on it, and a quick web search only showed comments about the proposal for dropping the 72.

  82. Are we back in the Middle Age faith? The very thought that Humans are the central point in Universe and all around caused by Human’s bad actions and/or thoughts :-)

  83. Way past time to move the EPA away from the executive branch of government and give it to the people as represented by congress. Currently it is a political tool and is used to stick it to the people. Perhaps the next president will do the right thing here.

    • …Because, heaven knows that Congress never uses anything as a political tool.

      Why don’t we give all the executive branch functions to Congress…We could call what remains, “the formerly-executive branch”?

    • Non-sequiturs.

      The EPA’s remit is to protect the environment. I would like to hear an explanation, no matter how far-fetched, of how argon causes environmental problems. We need a chuckle.

      The EPA is expanding far beyond its scope. That’s what happens when a bunch of complete amateurs with a devious, unstated agenda gets into power. The same incompetents who are always complaining about an Administration six years in the past are now screwing things up royally.

      So expect more “blame Bush” idiocy from this group of incompetents.

  84. Maybe the question should be why are there any inert ingredients used in pesticides. And it isn’t just pesticides.

    Your average laundry or dish washer detergent, specially powder ones, are mostly inert ingredients. Consumers are paying money to cart home rubbish. Most of the active ingredient is made by Monsanto.

    It’s too bad that the EPA doesn’t have the same percentage of inert ingredients, as a gallon jug of Roundup. They could use a little Roundup around the EPA.

    • George,
      With regard to pesticides, any ingredient that isn’t directly a pest-killer or maimer is considered inert.
      So, either the manufacturer just happened to have some stuff lying about and so tossed it in or he thought it might help to prevent caking or gelling or foaming.

  85. it’s also used in those low energy light bulbs – you know the ones to replace the banned incandescent globes. Also used in double-glazed windows. It fills the spaces between the panes. So a couple of emissions reduction (sic) uses soon to be banned. Argon is also obtained commercially by the distillation of liquid air.

    • Herp,

      Maybe you can explain how argon affects the environment. Of all the atoms and compounds the EPA claims jurisdiction over, I cannot think of a single one that has less effect.

      The EPA’s remit is to protect the environment. Do they not have to demonstrate at least some evidence of environmental harm from the use of argon?

      These EPA bureaucrats seem to be astonishingly clueless. It’s as if someone just appointed pals and political supporters to cushy jobs…

      …oh, wait…

  86. Idle curiosity, how did organic halides and flammable alkanes/enes make it onto a list of “inert” substances?

  87. Why call it the EPA, it’s an arm of the progressive liberals that are planning the destruction of prosperity for the human race. The sad part about it is the fact that 50% of the human race is below average intelligence and the mid point is dropping. ;-) So, nothing is going to change no matter what party is in control.

  88. Steve Hill,

    I am convinced that this whole agenda comes from the erstwhile Soviet Union. They have had long term plans in place, and they support anything that reduces prosperity or hobbles our economy. Just because the Berlin Wall came down means nothing; the same people are in charge. They do not like us at all, and in fact they blame us for their problems. V. Putin expertly capitalizes on that feeling, just like Obama always blames the Bush Administration.

    Morality is a big target of theirs. They’ve been very successful at demonizing moral behavior, to the extent that even mentioning morality typically brings a snicker or two from the peanut gallery. Just try mentioning moral behavior to Susan B. Anthony types. They take it as a code word, and either go on the attack, or make fun of such an old-fashhioned concept. Often they do both, and it’s not limited to feminists. All low information voters presume morality is simply old timey baggage, because that is what they have been taught. Parrots like to repeat things.

    I took a History class recently where we watched a newsreel from the 1930’s, in which a large mob with lots of identical printed signs reading: SMASH THE BOY SCOUTS!! was demonstrating over unemployment. I asked our [leftist] prof what that meant, and what the Boy Scouts had to do with unemployment. He laughed and said he didn’t know.

    But I know. It is part of a long term plan to undermine all the good things about America. It is still going on today. The EPA’s demonization of CO2, and now it’s ridiculous scrutiny of argon, are all attacks on the country’s success. Everywhere we look we see the same thing: official attacks on whatever forms the basis of our former exceptionalism.

    When you look at these events from that perspective, it’s easy to see what’s going on. The world is not filled with friendly countries. Some are simply our competitors, and that’s good. But many of them are actively working to destroy us, and that is no exaggeration. Destruction can be accomplished other than by wars, for example by ramping up the nation’s debt by 400%+, and by demonizing the Boy Scouts.

    Now we have a federal department that has redirected its energy to ‘Muslim outreach’, and another that is attacking harmless substances like CO2 for no apparent reason. But there is always a reason.

  89. My favorite on that list of “inert” ingredients: Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK).

    When I was in the (US) Navy, we used to joke about this stuff. Inert would not be a good descriptor of it – it has a flash point of 16 degrees F and will dissolve anything vinyl or synthetic like no one’s business. Truly nasty stuff. Looking at it cross-eyed can make it flash over.

    MEK alone could be used as a pesticide. AND it is water soluable. Hardly inert….

    • ‘Inert’ in the context of a pesticide is defined as an ingredient which is not the ‘active’ pesticide, as such MEK qualifies. For example a can of Raid has Pyrmethrin, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide as active ingredients and as inert ingredients: petroleum distillates.

      • When will stealey post anything meaningful?
        I have worked with Argon on plenty of occasions, even made chemical compounds with it.

  90. We use a lot of argon in semiconductor fabrication. In fact it is vital to implant processes. Most low-power, high speed switching on which our current tech survives depends on implant. Your smartphone, your computer, your anti-lock brakes, your medical devices, your pollution control systemss all depend on argon-based implant technology to make it work.

    The EPA seems to want to turn back the clock to the early 70’s. Smog-filled skies will be the norm in all cities again, giving the EPA someone to punish while they kill the technology needed to clean up the mess.

    • And, there seem to be plenty of people who are misled into believing that the answer was YES. Brian’s statement is a perfect example. He is stressing about the fact that argon is used in semiconductor fabrication as if the EPA’s action has anything whatsoever to do with this.

    • It’s not much different from a ban in that you can’t include argon in your pesticide, whereas, before,
      you could.
      If you do seek approval for a pesticide with argon as an ingredient, you won’t receive a special dispensation, you’ll have to wait for them to re-evaluate the substance and then it will be put back on the approved list.
      It will, so to speak, see the ban lifted and everyone will be permitted to include it to their hearts’ content. I would do it myself if I could figure out how.

      There is the wider issue of how and why this all came about and why the EPA now considers the science of inert ingredients in pesticides not settled.

    • It’s way different from a ban.

      One difference is that the rule only applies to the use of argon in pesticides (for which it is currently NOT even being used), hence making Brian Epps comment, the statement in the original post that “But Argon is incredibly useful to industry – among other things, is used as a “shield” gas”, and many other comments completely irrelevant. I would say that is a pretty huge difference.

      A second difference is that usually when people ban something, they don’t first check to see if anybody is using it beforehand. They are only removing ingredients from their pre-approved list if these ingredients are not currently being used in any pesticide formulation. That’s a pretty strange way to go about banning something.

      A third difference is that I tend to think of a ban as being a bit stronger than, “You have to get our permission to use this rather than just using it without having to get any approval whatsoever.” If you tell your teenage child that they have to get your permission before they take you car, I don’t think this would constitute a ban on their using your car.

      As for your description of how the approval process works: I can’t say your description is definitely incorrect but it is not obvious to me from their description that it is correct either. How did you come to this conclusion that this is how it works?

    • I agree that the argon for welding etc. is a red herring.
      Plenty of substances are banned from use in food products, but allowed in non-food applications. Cavilling over this is as uninteresting as the semiconductor thing.

      “EPA is taking this action in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others.”

      So, it wasn’t that the list of approved inert ingredients was screaming for revision, it was some focus groups clamoring for inclusion of all ingredients on labels. As has been pointed out, that wasn’t so straight-forward so a different approach was taken.

      It was seen that 72 substances could be removed from the approved list without hindering the manufacturers, since they weren’t being used anyhow. This might mollify the focus groups and buy some time to deal with the actual dilemma; what to do with the ingredients that are being used but whose safe use has been questioned.
      The irony is that each substance remaining on the list must now be individually re-assessed in order to remain approved.
      In the meantime, constraints will not be put on their use until they fail to meet the new standard.

      You find my description of the approval process suspect, but, if you imagine for a minute, a product by product approval for all inert ingredients would be worse than cumbersome. It really is not like handing Junior the car keys.
      The existence of a list of approved ingredients indicates a general acceptance and the fact that the whole list wasn’t scrapped suggests they have no intention of changing that.

      • The question still remains:

        What possible concern can the ‘environmental protection’ agency have with argon??

        They are wasting taxpayer assets even more than ‘climate studies’ funding does — anbd that’s saying a lot.

        The people defending the EPA here are few and far between. About in line with the proportion of lunatics in society.

      • About in line with the proportion of lunatics in society.

        Also about in line with the proportion of people here who are willing to read the actual EPA documents (rather than merely relying unskeptically on what somebody tells them the EPA is doing because that is what they want to hear).

        Why don’t you read the EPA letter to the petitioners and learn what they are doing and their rationale for doing it? It’s right here: http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=09000064818b04e7&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf [PDF file]

        Of course, I know you won’t do so because doing so takes a lot more energy than sniping from the sidelines and it also entails the risk of having some of your ideologically-driven beliefs challenged.

      • As usual, misdirection and lame thinking.

        WHAT possible concern does the EPA have with regulating argon? That would mean argon affects the environment, when any educated person knows that argon has a hard time affecting anything.

      • Sadly predictable. Yes, it is misdirection to actually suggest that you READ their justification for what they are doing when you can instead just harp on it based on your own ignorance of what they are doing and why.

      • Joeldshore:
        The EPA is a political tool fit to the hand of the present administration and adhere to the policy of fostering alarmism for political ends.
        The whole organization is suspect. I am an environmentalist but I have seen too many environmental scams fostered by the authorities. How eloquently you defend the huge, bumbling capricious beauracracy. But I see it differently.

      • Still waiting for any credible reason why the environmental protection agency needs to protect the environment from an inert trace gas.

        Anything other commentary — especially politics — is deflection.

  91. In the 1970’s we used MEK to clean the surface of aircraft fuel bladders during assembly. That was some nasty stuff.

  92. Brian Epps, the EPA is already increasing smog filled skies in our cities by the mandated use of ethanol in our motor fuels. I read a study a while back in Brazil that showed a 20% increase in ozone pollution when using ethanol as a motor fuel vs gasoline.

  93. I am old enough to remember when the “noble gases” were called “inert gases”, a more meaningful name even if not 100% accurate since, as the article mentioned, it is possible to get them to react with certain other chemicals under exotic conditions.

    If they do intend to ban argon will they ban the other inert or noble gases too? If not, why not?

  94. Their ignorance and stupidity knows no bounds.

    “While the aerospace industry is one of the primary users of gas tungsten arc welding, the process is used in a number of other areas…….Because the resulting welds have the same chemical integrity as the original base metal or match the base metals more closely, GTAW welds are highly resistant to corrosion and cracking over long time periods, GTAW is the welding procedure of choice for critical welding operations like sealing spent nuclear fuel canisters before burial.”

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

  95. It’s simpler than all that. Like they’re attacking coal, oil, and natural gas, they’re also attacking pesticides. The goal is to get global food production down to levels that will result in global warming being blamed for food shortages and famine.

  96. joelshore,

    You need to learn how to pick your battles. Is this really the hill you want to die on?

    The EPA’s remit is environmental protection. What danger is argon to the environment? Are there not lots of other things more dangerous — as in, ‘everything else’?

  97. Jaakko Kateenkorva, I recall that somebody interviewed Greenies, at a conference somewhere in the US, to check whether they were prepared to ban Dihydrogen oxide. They were overwhelmingly in favour of a ban. I think I saw that here on wattsupwiththat.com, but a good few years ago, so you may need to trawl the archives, to find it.

    As for that mentality, though? No trawling needed. It’s on public display, every day.

  98. There seems to be a pattern regarding the regulations being proposed.
    Kill industry (jobs).
    Reduce available electrical power.
    Reduce available heating oil.
    Don’t restrict travel of people infected with deadly diseases.
    Reduce the availability of medical insurance and affordability.
    Some scary folks are running the show for now.

  99. Not sure if it has been mentioned. Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air
    since the atmosphere contains about 1% and therefore it is easy to separate for use.

    So what is the big deal? Remove it from the air so as to use it for a good purpose and then return it back to the atmosphere. Result is amount in atmosphere remains the same. Go figure!

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