Wednesday, March 21, 2012

EPA Proposes New Rules to Limit New Uses of Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Yesterday the USEPA "proposed that companies be required to report to EPA all new uses, including in domestic or imported products, of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals." These Significant New Use Rules - SNURS - were identified in action plans for five chemicals issued over the last two years. The chemicals include uses "in a range of consumer products and industrial applications, including paints, printing inks, pigments and dyes in textiles, flame retardants in flexible foams, and plasticizers.".

The five chemicals EPA targets, as noted in their press release, are "polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), benzidine dyes, a short chain chlorinated paraffin, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and phthalate di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP). The agency is also proposing additional testing on the health and environmental effects of PBDEs."
“Although a number of these chemicals are no longer manufactured or used in the U.S. they can still be imported in consumer goods or for use in products. Today’s proposed actions will ensure that EPA has an opportunity to review new uses of the chemicals, whether they are domestically produced or imported, and if warranted, take action to prohibit or limit the activity before human health or environmental effects can occur,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “These actions also signal EPA’s ongoing commitment to the American people that the agency is taking significant steps to make sure that the chemicals manufactured and used in this country are safe.”

More information on the SNURS can be found at the EPA web site.

Just a few weeks ago EPA also released a set of documents in their Chemical Work Plan for prioritizing and conducting risk assessments.