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Current Chemical Activities

Announcements

December 17, 2014: To protect the public from a range of health effects and prevent harm to the environment, EPA issued Significant New Use Rules for certain benzidine-based dyes, a phthalate and a chlorinated paraffin chemical (76 pp, 350 kb, About PDF). These rules require EPA review of these chemicals before any new uses can be started or resumed.


December 10, 2014 – To protect consumers from ethylene glycol ethers, EPA issued a final Significant New Use Rule on December 10, 2014 which would require EPA review of seven ethylene glycol ethers (glymes) before reintroducing these chemicals into commerce.


October 23, 2014 – EPA announced the updates to its list of chemicals for assessment to reflect new industry data on chemical releases and potential exposures.


November 25, 2014 – In response to requests from the public, EPA extended the public comment period for the proposed Nonylphenols / Nonylphenol Ethoxylates Significant New Use Rule (NP/NPE SNUR) by 45 days. Comments on the proposal were originally due December 1, 2014. Comments will now be due January 15, 2015.


September 25, 2014 – To reduce risks, EPA proposed a Significant New Use Rule which would require EPA review of 15 Nonylphenols (NPs) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) before reintroducing these chemicals into commerce. NPs and NPEs are a potentially harmful class of chemicals that are toxic to aquatic organisms. EPA will take comment on the proposal until December 1, 2014.


August 28, 2014 – EPA released final TSCA Work Plan Chemical Risk Assessments for DCM, ATO, and HHCB. The DCM assessment identified health risks to workers and consumers who use these products, and to bystanders in workplaces and residences where DCM is used.


August 1, 2014 –EPA held an experts workshop on TCE alternatives and risk reduction approaches on July 29-30, 2014.


June 25, 2014 – EPA released its final TSCA Work Plan Chemical Risk Assessment for Trichloroethylene (TCE) (PDF) (212 pp, 3.0 mb, About PDF), identifying health risks from exposure when used as a degreasing agent, a spot removal agent in dry-cleaning and as a spray arts fixative.

TSCA Work Plan Chemicals

As a continuation of EPA’s comprehensive approach to enhance the Agency’s existing chemicals management, in March 2012 EPA identified a work plan of chemicals for further assessment under TSCA. The TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments: 2014 Update was updated in October 2014. The changes reflect updated data submitted to EPA by industry on chemical releases and potential exposures.

EPA intends to use the TSCA Work Plan to help focus and direct the activities of the Existing Chemicals Program over the next several years. Read about the TSCA Work Plan Chemicals and ongoing TSCA Work Plan Chemical Assessments.

Current Chemical Risk Reduction Activities

As part of EPA’s comprehensive efforts to enhance the agency’s chemicals management program, EPA developed chemical action plans on the chemicals below that highlighted the agency’s concerns with the chemicals and possible actions for addressing those concerns.

EPA is continuing to pursue risk reduction activities on specific chemicals described in the Existing Chemicals Action Plans published from 2009 through 2011. Chemicals for which action plans have been posted include:

Some regulatory measures taken under TSCA apply to specific chemical substances and involve coordination with other federal agencies or with other laws administered by EPA. Learn more about EPA's activities relating to:

Pollution Prevention Programs

EPA also uses voluntary programs to encourage both pollution prevention and risk reduction. Some of these programs apply to a wide variety of chemicals and industries.

Design for the Environment (DfE) works in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders to reduce risk to people and the environment by preventing pollution. The DfE Safer Product Labeling Program empowers consumers and industrial purchasers to make informed choices about safer household and cleaning products by allowing the use of the label on safer chemical products. This program also offers manufacturers assistance in selecting safer chemicals for cleaning products.

The 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program involves a global commitment by eight major companies to reduce both facility emissions and product content of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by 95 percent by 2010, and to work toward elimination of the chemical by 2015.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) helps the federal government "buy green," and in doing so, uses the federal government's enormous buying power to stimulate market demand for green products and services.

Green Chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.

E3:Economy, Energy and the Environment brings together federal agencies, states and local communities to strengthen small-to-medium sized American manufacturers.

Green Suppliers Network, which is now a part of E3:Economy, Energy and the Environment, works with large manufacturers to engage their small-and medium-sized suppliers in low-cost technical reviews that focus on process improvement and waste minimization.

Relevant Sections of TSCA

Specific sections of TSCA grant authority for EPA to require risk management measures, provide for the coordination of activities under TSCA with other Federal agencies and with other laws administered by EPA, and give citizens the opportunity to petition for action.

TSCA Section 4 provides that EPA can issue rules to require companies to generate hazard and exposure information through specific tests or measurements on chemicals in certain circumstances.

TSCA Section 5(a) Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) can be used to require notice to EPA before either new or existing chemical substances and mixtures are used in new ways that might create concerns.

TSCA Section 5(b)(4) provides that EPA can compile and keep current a list of chemical substances that present or may present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment.

TSCA Section 6 provides for the regulation of hazardous existing chemical substances and mixtures.

TSCA Section 9 governs the relationship of TSCA to other Federal laws.

TSCA Section 21 allows citizens to petition EPA to take specific regulatory actions on chemicals and mixtures under TSCA.


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