Tuesday, September 6, 2011

ACC Proposes TSCA Prioritization Tool to Improve Chemical Review Process

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade association representing many large chemical manufacturers, has proposed a new prioritization tool "to increase effectiveness of EPA's chemical review process."  The press release comes in a preemptive strike a day before EPA holds a webinar in which it will describe its own proposal for prioritizing chemicals.

ACC states that "EPA does not have a systematic way to determine which chemical uses need further characterization" and worries that "EPA may be wasting time, energy and resources gathering additional information on already well-understood chemicals."  According to their fact sheet and an accompanying powerpoint presentation, ACC's prioritization tool "would be administered by EPA" to:
  • Evaluate chemicals against transparent, consistent, scientifically-based criteria focused on the hazard associated with the chemical, how the chemical is used and how people or the environment are exposed to the chemical;
  • Ascribe a score based on the criteria;
  • Rank order chemicals based on their scores and the professional judgment of EPA officials; 
  • Utilize the rankings to determine which chemicals should be given full risk assessments
Individual criteria for ranking chemicals would include human health hazards (e.g., carcinogenicity or reproductive/developmental toxicity), potential environmental effects, the industrial, commercial and consumer uses, persistence and bioaccumulation potential, production volume, and other factors such as use in children's products or detected in biomonitoring programs.

EPA's prioritization scheme to be discussed tomorrow (September 7, 2011) differs significantly from the ACC plan.  ACC has clear scoring criteria for all chemicals where the EPA plan relies more on prior listings of chemicals by other regulatory bodies.  ACC's plan also gives greater weight to potential exposure (i.e., focus on risk) whereas EPA's plan would rely more on hazard for at least its first steps.

More information on the ACC prioritization proposal can be found on their TSCA prioritization page, including links to criteria documents, presentation and background information.

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