The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) encompasses the general rules and policies followed by agencies and departments of the federal government of the United States. It is also referred to as administrative law. Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 40) was created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency lays out rules and regulations dealing with the protection of the natural environment and human health.
CFR 40 is updated on July 1 each year. Proposed changes to CFR 40 are listed in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is a daily publication that includes rules, proposed rules, notices from federal organizations and agencies and executive orders as well as other presidential documents.
Topics covered by CFR 40 include: air quality programs, water quality programs, pesticide programs, radiation protection programs, ocean dumping policies, solid waste policies, the Superfund based on the Emergency Planning and Right to Know Act, effluent guidelines and standards, sewage sludge policies, energy policies, toxic substances policies and air pollution controls.
The EPA came to being on Dec. 2, 1970 after being envisioned on the first Earth Day: April 22, 1970. The ideal of conservationism, which brought about the concept of Earth Day and the EPA, has roots that can be traced back to early U.S. history. The industrial revolution, while widely seen as creating a net benefit for American society, carried with it several negative side effects. Beginning in 1652 the city of Boston recognized the necessity of securing a clean and pollution-free water source. By 1800, 17 other towns and cities had followed in establishing policies and rules for ensuring a clean source of water for future generations. Even with these advancements, many localities in the United States suffered from environmental problems: sewage was allowed to flow untreated into rivers, streams and lakes, animal and human waste was permitted to collect in the open, certain areas became overrun with peddlers and modes of transportation from the railway to the horse-drawn carriage to the automobile created unpleasant noise pollution.
American politicians and the public, sensing the need for common sense initiatives to reduce the impact of industrialization on the well-being of the country and its citizens, implemented the EPA and CFR 40.