The EPA Initiates Chemical Action Plans
January 4, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the first set of Chemical Action Plans (CAPs). The plans are part of a previously announced plan for enhancing chemicals management under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The four chemicals included in the plans are phthalates, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA.
“For the first time, EPA intends to establish a ‘Chemicals of Concern’ list and is beginning a process that may lead to regulations requiring significant risk reduction measures to protect human health and the environment. The agency’s actions represent its determination to use its authority under the existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the fullest extent possible, recognizing EPA’s strong belief that the 1976 law is both outdated and in need of reform,” according to the agency.
The EPA's action plans will: summarize available hazard, exposure and use information; outline the risks that each chemical may present; and identify the specific steps the agency is taking to address those concerns. As rulemaking actions begin, the agency will seek public and stakeholder comment and involvement.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) expressed concern over issues of transparency in the selection process and uncertainty in the scientific basis of the selection of chemicals. The ACC also expressed disappointment “that the initial set of chemicals seem to have been selected based on little more than their current ‘high-profile’ nature.”
Cal Dooley, ACC President and CEO, said, “In exercising its authority under TSCA, EPA should prioritize chemicals for the CAP program based on scientific criteria that reflect available hazard, use and exposure information provided to the agency. Unfortunately, until today, there has been little transparency, and significant uncertainty, over the scientific basis for the selection of these chemicals. The action plans released today include references to scientific studies that the agency believes make the case for restrictive action, but the agency should maintain their responsibility to review the weight of evidence for all scientific studies, even those that lead to a different conclusion. The chemical industry supports modernizing the way chemicals are managed in commerce, but the CAP process to date provides no evidence of a systematic, science-based approach to chemicals management. It is vital that this be addressed.”
The EPA also announced that benzidine dyes and pigments and bisphenol A are currently in the action plan development process.