US EPA steps up chem regs under toxics law authority - director

30 March 2010 17:52  [Source: ICIS news]

BALTIMORE, Maryland (ICIS news)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping up its efforts under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to regulate harmful chemicals and disseminate more information on the TSCA inventory list, its director of pollution prevention and toxics said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Global Chemical Regulations Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Wendy Cleland-Hamnett outlined steps the agency is undertaking to enhance its current chemicals management program, including a slew of new initiatives and examinations for 2010.

Specifically, the EPA has initiated new regulatory risk management actions on substances including lead, mercury, formaldehyde, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), glymes, and nanomaterials, she said.

A new federal rule regulating lead goes into effect April 22, while the EPA is assessing a rule to adopt California's standards for regulating formaldehyde in pressed wood. The formaldehyde rule, if adopted, would be included in a federal proposal in early 2011, Cleland-Hamnett said.

Within a few weeks, the EPA also plans to release an advance notice on a proposed adoption of global standards on PCBs in line with the Stockholm Convention.

In addition, the EPA in 2010 will take up action plans for the further restriction of 12 chemicals, essentially producing plans for four chemicals every four months, Cleland-Hamnett said.

The initial list of those chemicals includes phthalates, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, perfluorinated chemicals, penta, octa and decabrominated ethers, Bisphenol A, and benzidine dyes and pigments.

The EPA released the first four action plans for those chemicals in December, using TSCA authority to limit and control the chemicals and conduct new tests on the environmental safety of phthalates, PBDEs, perfluorinated chemicals, and short-chain chlorinated paraffins.

Then, the EPA moved on to the next four chemicals on 17 March, she added, bringing new scrutiny to nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), siloxanes, and diisocyanates.

On Monday, the EPA published its BPA action plan. A proposed rule to limit or ban BPA is set for fall 2010, while the EPA will continue to test the environmental effects of BPA and its alternatives, she said.

EPA plans to publish its next set of actions - for benzidine dyes - in late spring, Cleland-Hamnett said.

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By: Mickey McCarter
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