Release 05-24      

November 17, 2005


Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990

Karen Caesar
(626) 575-6728
ARB Adopts Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Onboard Cruise Ship Incineration 

SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board today adopted an airborne toxic control measure (ATCM) for onboard cruise ship incinerators. This action implements and supports state legislation (Assembly Bill 471, Simitian) passed in 2004 that prohibits cruise ships from incinerating waste while operating within three miles of the California coast.

“Today’s decision by the Board will protect people who live or work near ports from cruise ship emissions that can pose serious health risks,” said ARB Acting Chair Barbara Riordan. “Currently, there are no state or local air pollution control regulations that limit emissions by cruise ships from onboard incinerators.”

The ATCM is expected to reduce exposure to emissions from toxic airborne contaminants such as metals, as well as dioxins and furans. The ARB’s action today is expected to reduce the cancer risk from cruise ship incineration to less than two cancer cases per one million people in California. In 1990, the ARB adopted an ATCM for medical waste incinerators to cut emissions of these same toxic compounds

Travel aboard cruise ships has grown increasingly popular. Based on 2004 data, 11 cruise ship lines had approximately 45 vessels that entered one or more California ports, in all, there were roughly 650 visits to California ports of call. According to a survey of ship operators by ARB staff, cruise ship visits to California ports may increase by 25 percent within the next decade.

In addition to prohibiting onboard incineration within three miles of the California coast, the ATCM requires cruise ship operators to maintain records containing detailed information for each segment of a voyage where the ship cruises within the three-mile limit, and to keep those records onboard for two years. A cruise ship is defined as a vessel having the capacity to carry 250 or more passengers and having berths or overnight accommodations.

In other business, Board members voted to allow manufacturers of inboard and sterndrive boats, typically used for recreation, more flexibility in complying with emissions standards. The Board also approved revisions to the emissions warranty for high performance boat engines due to the shorter lifespan of these engines.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our website at

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