EPA’s Approach To Chemical Action Plans Causes A Stir

Jan. 5, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency's first set of Chemical Action Plans  (CAPs), which revolves around four chemicals, has some folks concerned the agency is going to target high-profile chemicals rather than truly hazardous chemicals.  
     

The Environmental Protection Agency's first set of Chemical Action Plans  (CAPs), which revolves around four chemicals, has some folks concerned the agency is going to target high-profile chemicals rather than truly hazardous chemicals.  
     

Cal Dooley, American Chemistry Council president and CEO, said in a Dec. 30 press release, "In exercising its authority under TSCA [Toxic Substance Control Act], EPA should prioritize chemicals for the CAP program based on scientific criteria that reflect available hazard, use and exposure information provided to the agency.  Unfortunately, until today, there has been little transparency, and significant uncertainty, over the scientific basis for the selection of these chemicals.   The action plans released today include references to scientific studies that the agency believes make the case for restrictive action, but the agency should maintain their responsibility to review the weight of evidence for all scientific studies, even those that   lead to a different conclusion.  The chemical industry supports modernizing the way chemicals are managed in commerce, but the CAP process to date provides no evidence of a systematic, science-based approach to chemicals management.  It is vital that this be addressed."

Chemicals for which action plans have been prepared include:
• Phthalates
• Long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
• Penta, octa, and decabromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in products
• Short-chain chlorinated paraffins

Chemicals currently in the action plan development process include:
• Benzidine dyes and pigments
• Bisphenol A

According to the ACC press release, there is a large body of scientific data that already exists about phthalates and these products have already been subject to numerous government safety assessments.

What are your thoughts or concerns regarding the EPA's Chemical Action Plans?

Traci Purdum,
Senior Digital Editor
Chemical Processing

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