Friday, September 30, 2011

EPA Will Identify Priority Chemicals by Thanksgiving (or so)

EPA will identify chemicals to be prioritized sometime this fall as it tries to move forward under the old TSCA as Congress makes no progress on developing a new TSCA.  To do so EPA will take into consideration feedback they received from a variety of stakeholders in two recent outreach attempts related to their proposed prioritization process. 

EPA introduced its proposed prioritization scheme and "discussion guide" back in August.  They then had a webinar on September 7th to give an overview of the proposed scheme and to invite feedback.  Finally, EPA also invited the public to share their thoughts in an online discussion forum.  That discussion forum closed on September 14th.

All comments received from stakeholders are now being assimilated and reviewed by EPA staff, who are working to identify chemicals to be prioritized for review.  In general the feedback was very constructive and included both concerns for the data sources being proposed as well as suggestions for other data sources to include in the evaluation. Other stakeholders cautioned that the use of production volume as a surrogate for exposure could lead to chemicals with very low risk being prioritized while chemicals of low production volume by high exposure potential, and thus risk, might be left out.  Some stakeholders suggested the addition of additional health effects such as endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and skin or respiratory sensitization be used early in the prioritization process, while others cautioned that the process could get bogged down in the minutia if too many factors were included in the first step.

More information on the EPA chemical prioritization can be found on the discussion forum web site and EPA's existing chemicals "Identifying priority chemicals for review" page.

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