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EPA Targets Chemicals

Risk Assessment: Agency to scrutinize seven compounds or categories of substances in 2012

by Cheryl Hogue
March 12, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 11

A multiyear systematic evaluation of dozens of commercial chemicals will begin this year to determine whether they should be regulated, EPA announced on March 1.

Until now, the agency has had no clear strategy for prioritizing assessment of risks from chemicals in commerce.

Targeted for assessment are 83 chemicals or classes of substances that are known to have toxic effects, are found in children’s products, or have been detected in biomonitoring studies, EPA says. The agency will pick a subset of these to assess each year.

Selected for this year’s risk assessment are 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta-γ-2-benzopyran, used as a fragrance in consumer products; long-chain chlorinated paraffins and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins, used in industrial cutting fluids, paints, adhesives, and sealants; antimony and antimony compounds, used in a variety of commercial applications, and three solvents, methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone, and trichloroethylene.

“If an assessment indicates significant risk, EPA will evaluate and pursue appropriate risk-reduction actions, as warranted,” which include regulation, the agency says. “If an assessment indicates no significant risk, EPA will conclude its current work on that chemical.”

“We are glad that the EPA continues to recognize the urgent need to prioritize chemicals for review,” the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, says.


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