Skip to main content
Foundry News

 | Foundry News

What the EPA’s New PM2.5 Standard Means for Metalcasting

 by General Kinematics,

The New PM2.5 Standard

On February 7, 2024, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the latest National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The new standard for PM2.5 is 9 micrograms per cubic meter, dropping from the previous 12 micrograms per cubic meter. This new standard will take effect starting May 6, 2024, though regulation will take some time to roll out.

Commonly known as soot, PM2.5 are minuscule particles (usually 2.5 micrometers or smaller) in the air that can cause adverse health effects when they enter the human body, such as decreased lung function, shortness of breath, and cough. PM2.5 is created by a chemical reaction to flames and combustion.

Because of this new legislation, states must develop plans (called state implementation plans, or SIPs)  to address areas that do not meet air quality standards (called nonattainment areas). Once drafted, these plans will be sent to the EPA for approval.

Impact on Foundries

If your foundry falls in a nonattainment area, you’ll be hit with stricter regulations, such as:

  • Limits on how much you can produce.
  • Bans on building new facilities or expanding existing ones.
  • Stricter rules on your foundry’s emissions.
  • More government oversight on how your facility operates and the permits you need.


While the PM2.5 standard promotes a good cause, it is being implemented in a way that could potentially harm manufacturing businesses. Since 2000, PM2.5 emissions in the U.S. have decreased by 42% overall due to existing regulations and technological developments. Additionally, most PM2.5 emissions are from wildfires (which are becoming increasingly devastating), unpaved roads, and fuel combustion from vehicles. These other sources can cause increased PM2.5 emissions in regions where they’re prominent. Consequentially, foundries and other manufacturers will be penalized for being in the same area as these sources, even if the foundries aren’t a major source of emissions.

What Comes Next?

For now, the best approach is to ensure that your foundry releases as few PM2.5 emissions as possible. For example, some foundries have started using induction furnaces instead of blast furnaces to melt metals to help reduce the amount of PM2.5 released.

Additionally, there are groups that advocate for metalcasters and foundries to reduce the number of regulations to help foundries thrive while still promoting a safe work environment. The American Foundry Society and National Association of Manufacturers, for example, both advocate for a stronger business climate for metalcasting and manufacturing businesses. The end goal is to ensure regulations like this don’t hurt manufacturers while still protecting the environment.

Reduce Your Emissions With GK

Dust control is a great way to minimize the amount of PM2.5 and other emissions in and around your foundry. GK’s foundry equipment, like the VIBRA-DRUM®, is designed to be totally enclosed to help contain airborne dust. If you’d like to learn more about how GK can help you manage foundry dust and emissions, contact us today and we’ll help you keep your foundry and environment cleaner.

General Kinematics Corporation, incorporated in 1960, was established to market, design, and custom fabricate innovative vibratory equipment for the foundry, recycling, mining, and processing industries. Today the company continues as one of the world’s largest suppliers of vibratory processing equipment and has evolved into an industry-leading EPC firm. Headquartered in Crystal Lake, IL, General Kinematics has seven global locations providing engineering and support to a world-wide customer base. GK is a third generation, family-owned company and is ISO 9001 certified.