An environmental hazard puts a substance in-context. A substance all by itself or in certain
contexts is may not be a hazard (e.g., lead, or lead in stained glass windows) but in other contexts
is a hazard (e.g., lead paint dust).
EPA is interested in environmental hazards because they threaten the natural environment EPA is
charged with protecting. Risk, regulation, and activities center around hazards. This is a logical
hazard rather than an actual one (e.g., lead in paint rather than lead paint peeling off walls at
Rolling Ridge Elementary Schoold in Sterling VA (mere illustration)).
From the EPA web site...
EPA's mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water, and
land — upon which life depends. For 30 years, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier
environment for the American people.
From the Strategic Plan...
Hazards pose risks to workers, consumers, or the environment 2ksp29 A hazard is a hazardous agent
manifested in a particular way... had been TOXIC RELEASE AND HAZARD EPA also uses the authority of
the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to protect against spills and
releases of hazardous materials. 2ksp35 By 2005, EPA and its partners will prevent radioactive
releases into the environment by safely managing and disposing of all EPA regulated radioactive
waste. 2ksp37 By identifying important sources of risk, science informs our priority setting,
enhances the credibility of our policies, and guides our deployment of resources. 2ksp50