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Policy

EPA Focuses On Exposure To 14 Glycol Ethers

by Cheryl Hogue
July 18, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 29

EPA is acting on its concerns about toxicity of and potential increase in consumers’ exposure to 14 ethylene glycol ethers. Last week, the agency proposed a new rule requiring that chemical manufacturers notify EPA in advance about any intended new uses of these compounds, which EPA calls glymes, in consumer products. Stephen Owens, EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, says, “We need to take a closer look at the potential health effects that additional exposure to these chemicals could have.” Currently, several types of glymes are found in consumer printing inks, paints and paint strippers, coatings, adhesives, lithium batteries, and brake fluids. Some of these chemicals are linked to developmental and health effects. EPA is concerned about the toxicity of all 14 glymes because of similarities in their molecular structures, physical and chemical properties, and widespread uses. More information on the proposed rule is available at www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/glymes.html.

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