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Policy

EPA Assesses Additional Chemicals For Regulation


Risk Assessment: BPA, flame retardants, and phthalates among substances added to EPA list for potential regulation

by Britt E. Erickson
November 3, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 44

Bisphenol A (BPA), two flame retardants, and seven phthalates are among the 23 chemicals or groups of compounds that EPA added to a list of substances it’s assessing for possible regulation.

EPA also removed 16 chemicals from the list, including 13 that the agency claims are no longer sold in the U.S.

The changes, made in late October, reflect new data that industry submitted to EPA about chemical releases and potential exposures. This marks the first time the agency has updated its list of chemicals, established in 2012, to scrutinize for potential regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The list now contains 90 substances or groups of compounds that can cause reproductive, developmental, or neurotoxic effects; are carcinogenic; or are in children’s products.

The American Chemistry Council, an industry group, raised concerns about some of the newly added chemicals, notably BPA and phthalates. Other regulatory programs at EPA or other federal agencies have already reviewed these substances, the group says. For some chemicals, controls are already in place to manage risks, it says.

Meanwhile, Richard Denison of the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group, questioned EPA’s conclusion that some of the chemicals stricken from the list are no longer in commerce. The agency collects data only on substances produced in quantities of 25,000 lb or more per site each year. Given this reporting threshold, EPA needs to explain “how it has determined that these chemicals are no longer being produced in or imported into the U.S. at any level,” Denison says.

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