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Endocrine Disruptors

US EPA plans broad review of 2 phthalates

Agency finalizes scope of manufacturer-requested risk evaluations

by Britt E. Erickson
September 2, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 32


Plastic toys.
Credit: Shutterstock
The US Environmental Protection Agency will consider the risks of two phthalates in toys in upcoming assessments.

Risk assessments of two phthalates—diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP)—will include an analysis of exposures from air and water, as well as exposures to communities near industrial facilities, the US Environmental Protection Agency says in final plans released Aug. 31.

DIDP and DINP are commonly used to make plastics soft and flexible. They are found in numerous consumer products and widely used by the automotive, fuel, and agriculture industries. Phthalates interfere with male sex hormones and can harm reproductive development.

When determining the risks of the phthalates, the EPA will also not assume that workers wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). However, it will consider the use of PPE to mitigate unreasonable risks that are found, the agency says.

The documents reflect policy changes announced by the EPA in June. They are the first plans for risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) finalized under President Joe Biden.

Based on comments received on the draft plans, released in November 2020, the EPA broadened the uses it will consider in the evaluations, including use in toys. Because the EPA is evaluating DIDP and DINP at manufacturers’ request, the agency says it cannot broaden the scope to include other phthalates that pose similar health concerns.

Chemical manufacturers requested the evaluations of DIDP and DINP in May 2019. The request came after the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of DINP in toys in 2017.



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