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Chemical Regulation

Group urges EPA to request toxicity data earlier

by Britt E. Erickson
March 5, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 8


Chemical structure of pigment violet 29.

The US Environmental Protection Agency should systematically determine the adequacy of toxicity data for chemicals of concern and use its authority to ask chemical manufacturers for missing data before it decides whether a chemical is a high priority for risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Network, a group of former EPA employees, says in a Feb. 26 letter to the current head of the agency’s chemical safety office. Such a pre-prioritization process would ensure that industry has sufficient time to complete studies on health effects to inform prioritization and risk evaluations, the group says. When Congress amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 2016, it gave the EPA expanded authority to request toxicity data. Once it designates a chemical a high priority, however, the agency is locked into specific deadlines to evaluate the substance. If the EPA requests data after a chemical is prioritized, as it did for pigment violet 29—one of the first 10 chemicals assessed under the revised law—the agency can request only short-duration studies in order to meet TSCA deadlines, the EPA alumni note. The agency proposed a pre-prioritization process in a TSCA procedural rule in January 2017 under the Obama administration, but the Trump administration did not include it in the final rule.


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