WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced new criteria to help companies and other groups, such as states and environmental organizations, identify safer chemicals. As part of the agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE) program, EPA unveiled the new criteria, which are an important tool under its DfE Alternatives Assessments for identifying safer alternatives to chemicals that pose a concern to human health and the environment.

Information on chemical hazards from DfE Alternatives Assessments is combined with industry data on performance and cost to guide the choice of safer alternatives. To distinguish among alternatives, DfE evaluates data for each chemical and assigns hazard levels of high, moderate or low for human health and environmental concerns.

DfE Alternatives Assessments will be conducted for bisphenol A, phthalates, decabromodiphenyl ether, hexabromocyclododecane, and nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates.

EPA will accept comment on the criteria through January 31, 2011. For additional information, visithttp://epa.gov/dfe/alternative_assessments.html.