WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Five US-based chemicals producers have agreed to a testing programme for a solvent with multiple applications in order to determine its potential environmental effects, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Friday.
The agency said that Dow Corning Corporation, Evonik Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials USA Inc, Shin-Etsu Silicones of America, Inc, and Wacker Chemical Corporation have agreed to design and undertake a testing programme that is expected to take just over two years.
The five companies have agreed to an enforceable consent agreement (ECA), the EPA said, to conduct a detailed environmental analysis of octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, also known as D4.
Under the deal, the producers must submit a draft research and study plan, which will be subject to EPA approval.
The companies will then conduct the environmental testing – which will be focused on the level of D4 at wastewater treatment plant discharge sites – and then submit a final report to the agency.
EPA said that D4 is used as an intermediate for silicone copolymers and other chemicals, in industrial processing applications as a solvent, a finishing agent, and as an adhesive and sealant.
D4 also is used in consumer and commercial products such as paints and coatings, plastic and rubber products and in polishes, sanitation, soaps, detergents and adhesives.
In announcing the agreement, EPA said that is concerned that D4 persists in sediment and bioaccumulates in aquatic species, and that early research shows D4 to be toxic to aquatic and sediment-dwelling species.
The agency said that the testing being undertaken by the five producers “will help develop a better understanding of the potential effects of this chemical in the environment”.
D4 was the subject of earlier industry testing in 2000 as part of research on several high-production volume (HPV) chemicals.
ECAs are authorised under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).