Thursday, December 31, 2009

USEPA Issues Action Plans for Four Chemicals of Concern

For the first time EPA has used TSCA's existing authority to list chemicals that "may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment." Following up on Steve Owens' and Lisa Jackson's "commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a series of actions on four chemicals raising serious health or environmental concerns, including phthalates."

The four chemicals are:

Short-chain chlorinated paraffins
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Perfluorinated chemicals (including PFOA)

The action plans summarize available hazard, exposure, and use information; outline the risks that each chemical may present; and identify the specific steps the Agency intends to address those concerns.

The actions announced include:

· Adding phthalates and PBDE chemicals to the concern list.

· Beginning a process that could lead to risk reductions actions under section 6 of TSCA for several phthalates, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, and perfluorinated chemicals.

· Reinforcing the DecaBDE phase-out – which will take place over three years – with requirements to ensure that any new uses of PBDEs are reviewed by EPA prior to returning to the market.

EPA expects to issue additional action plans every four months. This and further steps taken by EPA indicate a desire by the Agency to fully utilize the existing authority within TSCA while Congress decides when and how to introduce a modernization of how we regulate chemicals in the US.

More information on EPA’s legislative reform principles and a fact sheet on the complete set of actions on the four chemicals can be found on EPA's web site.

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