EPA prioritises 40 chemicals for risk evaluation for the public

The US Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of 40 chemicals that it says it intends to review and prioritize for risk evaluation as required under section 6(b) of the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The agency said it is releasing this list in order to provide the public an opportunity to submit relevant information such as the uses, hazards, and exposure for these chemicals. A docket has been opened for each of the 40 chemicals. The publication of this list in the Federal Register initiates a 90-day public comment period. Publication also activates a statutory requirement for EPA to complete the prioritization process in the next nine to 12 months, allowing EPA to designate 20 chemicals as high priority and 20 chemicals as low priority by December 2019.

One of the chemicals identified for high-priority evaluation is formaldehyde, a chemical that has been studied by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program for many years.

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When prioritization is complete, chemicals designated as high priority will begin a 3-year risk evaluation process to determine if the chemical, under the conditions of use, presents an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. The designation of a chemical as a low priority means that further risk evaluation is not warranted at this time.

The 20 high priority candidate chemicals include seven chlorinated solvents, six phthalates, four flame retardants, formaldehyde, a fragrance additive, and a polymer pre-curser. EPA has received a manufacturer request for a risk evaluation of two additional phthalates and is currently determining whether the request contains the minimum needed elements to proceed under EPA’s regulations. If complete, EPA has 15 days to provide notice of such a request.

The 20 low priority candidate chemicals have been selected from EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, which includes chemicals that have been evaluated and determined to meet EPA’s safer choice criteria.

The list of chemicals can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/list-chemicals-undergoing-prioritization.

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