26 April 2004 21:08 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday mandated testing of 34 industrial chemicals to determine their rates of absorption by the skin.
At the request of the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (Osha), the EPA issued a final rule that requires chemical manufacturers and processors to provide data that will help Osha evaluate the need for "skin designations." The in-vitro dermal absorption designation would alert workers and employers to the potential dangers of high exposure to particular chemicals.
Skin designations should also encourage employers to consider changes to the ways in which they process certain chemicals in order to reduce toxicity, the EPA said.
The final rule has fewer than the 47 industrial chemicals originally named in the proposed rule issued by EPA in 1999 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The final rule dropped some chemicals because producers demonstrated that those substances are not produced in high volumes and the exposure rate has dropped below required levels, EPA officials said.
The EPA reported that it received comments on the proposed rule from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the US chemical industry’s largest trade group, Monsanto, First Chemical Corporation, Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (Socma), among others in the industry.
ACC asserted, according to EPA, that a chemical’s biological properties and the duration and frequency of exposure to the substance should be determined before the agency finds there is "substantial human exposure."
The EPA said: "ACC states that neither Osha’s objective of developing skin designations nor EPA’s objectives under TSCA are served by requiring dermal testing in circumstances where dermal exposures are at low concentrations, or are so infrequent that harm is not likely to occur."
The EPA said it disagrees with industry assertions, and said it is reasonable to require testing on the 34 chemicals because 1000 or more workers are potentially exposed to each chemical named in the final rule.
The 34 designated chemicals are:
Methyl isoamyl ketone
Vinyl toluene, and
Dipropylene glycol methyl ether
The final EPA rule can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-TOX/2004/April/Day-26/t9409.htm .
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