Chemical Hazard Information | September 17, 2007 Issue - Vol. 85 Issue 38 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 38 | p. 10 | News of The Week
Issue Date: September 17, 2007

Chemical Hazard Information

Data for 101 high-production-volume chemicals are on EPA's website
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Safety
EPA has compiled hazard information on 101 widely produced chemicals and made the data public.
Credit: Photodisc
EPA has compiled hazard information on 101 widely produced chemicals and made the data public.
Credit: Photodisc

BASIC INFORMATION about the health and environmental hazards of 101 mass-produced chemicals is now available through EPA's website.

EPA based these hazard characterizations on toxicity data supplied voluntarily by manufacturers of high-production-volume (HPV) chemicals, defined as substances produced in excess of 1 million lb per year. Companies provided the data through the HPV Challenge Program, launched in 1998 jointly by EPA, the American Chemistry Council, and Environmental Defense. The program includes more than 2,000 substances.

The agency describes the hazards of 101 HPV chemicals in 29 separate documents made public last week. Some chemicals, such as three dicarboxylic acids, are covered as a group for hazard analysis rather than as individual substances. Other documents address the hazards of a single compound, such as dimethyl sulfoxide.

Richard Denison, senior scientist at Environmental Defense, praises EPA for carefully analyzing the quality of the toxicity data submitted by companies through the HPV Challenge Program. In the newly released documents, the agency identifies areas where data are insufficient to determine the hazards of chemicals. For instance, the agency said it received no information for assessing the aquatic toxicity or human health effects of cyclic neopentanetetrayl diphenyl phosphite.

Denison adds that it is unclear what EPA will, or can, do about gaps in data provided voluntarily by industry. Some manufacturers, however, say they will provide the missing information.

Members of the public seeking hazard data on HPV chemicals may encounter difficulties in finding documents for the substances they are interested in. In the hazard documents, for example, some compounds are identified solely by proper chemical nomenclature. For instance, EPA refers to HCFC-123 only as 2,2-dichloro-1,1,1-trifluoroethane and never describes the substance as a widely used commercial refrigerant.

The agency says it will continue producing hazard characterization documents for hundreds more HPV chemicals and will post them on the Web as they are completed. Beginning later this year, EPA will combine hazard data with information about exposure to characterize the risk a chemical poses to people and the environment.

The hazard characterizations are available online at

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