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Updated List of Chemicals to be Assessed for Possible Regulatory Action

Monday, October 27, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated its list of existing chemicals for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which is known as the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments. The EPA notes that the identification of a chemical on this work plan indicates the agency’s plans to assess its potential risks to human health or the environment and does not constitute a finding that the chemical presents such a risk. Chemicals that are assessed via this process may eventually be subject to voluntary or regulatory actions to address any concerns identified.

Chemicals are evaluated for placement on the work plan based on a combination of hazard, exposure, and persistence and bioaccumulation characteristics. The EPA is now removing 15 chemicals from the work plan, consolidating one and adding 23, as follows.

Chemicals Added

Five chemicals or groups of chemicals for which EPA developed action plans between 2009 and 2011 are now included in the work plan for assessment: bisphenol A, decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPE), and phthalates including DBP, BBP, DEHP, DnOP, DINP, DIDP and DIBP. The EPA notes that while a July 2014 report provided to the Consumer Product Safety Commission by the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives provided a risk assessment for the eight phthalates described in the EPA’s action plan, seven of these are being added to the TSCA work plan to determine whether any additional assessment is needed to supplement the report and address any TSCA-specific uses or exposure scenarios.

The EPA is also adding the following ten chemicals that are being domestically produced or imported in greater quantities and are being used in a larger variety of consumer and children’s products than was previously the case: 1,3-butadiene, 2,5-furandione, 2-dimethylaminoethanol, 2-hydroxy-4-(octyloxy)benzophenone, 3,3’-dichloro-benzidine, 4,4'-(1-mMethylethylidene)bis[2,6-dibromophenol], barium carbonate, dicyclohexyl phthalate, molybdenum and molybdenum compounds, and pentachlorothiophenol.

Finally, the EPA is adding triphenyl phosphate and isopropylated phenol phosphate, which came to the agency’s attention as part of its analysis of flame retardant chemicals.

Chemicals Removed or Consolidated

Thirteen chemicals are being removed from the work plan: 1,2,4,5-tetrachloro-benzene, 4-chloro-2-methylaniline (p-chloro-o-toluidine), benz(a)anthracene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, dibromochloromethane, dichloroacetic acid, hexabromobiphenyl, hexachlorocyclohexane, N-nitroso-ethylamine, N-nitrosodimethylamine, pentabromophenol, polychlorinated naphthalenes, and tris(2,3-di bromopropyl) phosphate. The EPA states that though these chemicals may be toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative and may have been detected in human or environmental biomonitoring, available data indicate that they are not currently in commerce and therefore no longer present exposure potential from current consumer or commercial use. If new data should indicate that any of these chemicals have returned to commerce, the work plan will be updated accordingly.

Also being removed are mercury and mercury compounds, because their hazards are already well characterized and there is a strong risk reduction effort in place; and quartz, which presents a hazard only in the context of silicosis from the inhalation of very fine crystalline dust particles, which might occur only during occupational activities such as sandblasting or stone cutting, and these potential exposures are specifically controlled under regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Finally, the EPA will evaluate benzo[a]pyrene and several other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as part of an assessment of creosote.

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