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EPA Announces Chemicals of Concern

January 19th, 2010

EPA Announces Chemicals of ConcernThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a series of actions on four chemicals raising serious health or environmental concerns, including phthalates. For the first time, EPA intends to establish a “Chemicals of Concern” list and is beginning a process that may lead to regulations requiring significant risk reduction measures to protect human health and the environment. The agency’s actions represent its determination to use its authority under the existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the fullest extent possible, recognizing EPA’s strong belief that the 1976 law is both outdated and in need of reform.

In addition to phthalates, the chemicals EPA is addressing are short-chain chlorinated paraffins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA. These chemicals are used in the manufacture of a wide array of products and have raised a range of health and environmental concerns.

The actions announced recently 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 phaseout – 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.
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