WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released action plans to address the potential health risks of benzidine dyes, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and nonylphenol (NP)/nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). The chemicals are widely used in both consumer and industrial applications, including dyes, flame retardants and industrial laundry detergents. The plans identify a range of actions the agency is considering under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Benzidine dyes are used in the production of consumer textiles, paints, printing inks, paper, and pharmaceuticals and may pose health problems, including cancer. HBCD is used as a flame retardant in expanded polystyrene foam in the building and construction industry, as well as in some consumer products. HBCD has been shown to be persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment and may pose potential reproductive, developmental and neurological effects in people. NP/NPEs are used in many industrial applications and consumer products such as detergents, cleaners, agricultural and indoor pesticides, as well as food packaging. These chemicals have been detected in people.
The range of actions on these chemicals include adding HBCD and NP/NPE to EPA’s new Chemicals of Concern list, issuing significant new use rules for all three chemicals, and, for HBCD and benzidine dyes, imposing new reporting requirements on EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory and potentially banning or limiting the manufacture or use of the chemicals.
EPA first announced that it planned to develop the Chemicals of Concern list last December.