Thursday, March 1, 2012

EPA Releases Chemical Work Plan - Names Chemicals for Risk Assessment

EPA has "developed a work plan that identifies existing chemicals for risk assessment over the next several years."  Today they "posted the methodology for developing this work plan, the work plan chemicals identified using the methodology, and seven chemicals for risk assessment development in 2012." EPA also posted an "existing chemicals program strategy," that "includes risk assessment and risk reduction, data collection and screening, and public access to chemical data and information."

We'll examine the strategy and work plans in more detail over the coming days, but here's a quick synopsis. Last September EPA announced that it would seek to identify existing chemicals for risk assessment under TSCA since the TSCA reform legislation was likely not to be seriously discussed in Congress for some time.  In a two-step process, EPA identified criteria for prioritizing chemicals based on their hazards, likelihood for exposure, and persistence/bioaccumulation. Scores for each segment are compiled from a variety of sources (to be discussed in future posts), categorized into high, moderate or low ranks, and given an overall score ranging from 1 (low) to 3 (high).  Chemicals receiving high scores in all or most of the segments get higher priority for assessment.

Since EPA resources are limited, and likely to get even more limited due to pending budget cuts, they have designated only seven chemicals for the 2012 work plan.  Another 76 chemicals have been designated for future year work plans.  

More details will come in future posts.  The seven chemicals listed for 2012 will be subject to EPA risk assessments.  They are:
  • Antimony & Antimony Compounds
  • 1,2,3,6,7,8-Hexahydro-3,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopentag]-2-benzopyran (HHCB)
  • Long-chain chlorinated paraffins (C18-20)
  • Medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (C14-17)
  • Methylene chloride
  • N-Methylpyrrolidone
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) 

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