EPA Touts Assessing Chemical Risks, Proposing Rules

By Pat Rizzuto

March 23 — Refining risk assessments of chemicals in commerce, proposing rules to ban or restrict certain uses of some chemicals, and issuing final rules on nanomaterials and formaldehyde emissions are among the Environmental Protection Agency's priorities for 2016, officials said March 23.

Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, director of the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, spoke to an audience of more than 450 participants at this year's Global Chemical Regulations Conference. The annual conference is co-hosted by the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, or SOCMA.

If an updated version of the Toxic Substances Control Act is signed into law, “implementing that bill will be a priority,“ Cleland-Hamnett said.

TCE, NMP and Methylene Chloride

Meanwhile, OPPT will continue its oversight of chemicals in commerce, she said.

The agency plans to propose rules, authorized under Section 6 of TSCA, to ban or restrict particular uses of three chemicals: trichloroethylene (TCE), n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and methylene chloride, Cleland-Hamnett said.

Working through its “work plan” list of about 90 chemicals that it plans to evaluate, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics already completed its risk assessments of those three chemicals and determined certain uses could pose health risks to workers or consumers.

Of those three proposed rules, the EPA plans to propose one in late summer or early fall, Cleland-Hamnett said. She did not say which chemical that proposed rule would address.

It would be the first Section 6 rule the agency has proposed in 30 years, she added.

Proposed rules for the other two chemicals will be issued by the end of the year, Cleland-Hamnett said.

OPPT is working to issue a draft risk assessment for 1,4-dioxane and one for several groups of flame retardants including: chlorinated phosphate esters, cyclic aliphatic bromides, and tetrabromobisphenol A and related chemicals, she said.

Test Rule, Final Rules Coming

By late fall, the office intends to propose a TSCA Section 4 regulation that would require chemical manufacturers to generate new toxicity or other data for seven brominated phthalates, Cleland-Hamnett said.

The office already has begun to assess the risks of seven chlorinated solvents including perchloroethylene or PERC, she said.

The agency expects to issue two final chemical rules in 2016, Cleland-Hamnett said. Those would be final rules to collect existing toxicity and other data about nanoscale chemicals in commerce; and to restrict formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto at prizzuto@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com