EPA to Identify Priority Chemicals for Review

Readers interested in EPA chemical risk management efforts may be interested in the Agency’s new initiative to identify priority chemicals for review and possible risk management action under TSCA. This initiative is part Agency efforts to enhance its chemical management program.  The Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics notes that strengthening EPA’s chemicals management and risk assessment program is an Agency priority. Goals for the chemical prioritization initiative include identification of highest priority chemicals, determination of whether risk is significant, and whether risk management or other action under TSCA is warranted. The Agency plans to release an initial list of priority chemicals by late fall.

To identify candidate chemicals for review, EPA will consider risk-based prioritization factors similar to those used for selecting chemicals on which EPA has recently prepared Chemical Action Plans. Children’s health issues, PBT chemicals, and carcinogens are among the Agency’s highest hazard-based priorities.

The Agency has specifically solicited public input on which prioritization factors should receive greatest consideration. Following this data collection, EPA will refine the list of priority chemicals for review using a broader range of data sources. It has also requested comments on which data sources the Agency should consider to help identify priority chemicals. Potential data sources for both exposure and use-related information and hazard data sources are listed in the Discussion Guide for Identifying Priority Chemicals for Review and Assessment (available here). A web-based discussion forum is available for submitting suggestions. Submissions will be accepted only until 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on September 14, 2011. At a later date this information will also be available in docket, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-0516, at http://www.regulations.gov.

EPA stresses that decisions about whether or not a chemical presents a risk to human health or the environment will be made only after review and assessment efforts are completed. That is, identification of a chemical as a priority chemical for review is not an Agency “finding” under TSCA.

The Agency anticipates that the chemicals identified as priority chemicals for review will likely be well-characterized for hazard and have information indicating exposure potential. The discussion guide notes that EPA will continue to use its TSCA information collection, testing, and subpoena authorities, including sections 4, 8, and 11(c) of TSCA, to develop needed information on additional chemicals that currently have less robust hazard or exposure databases.

A webinar describing this effort was conducted September 7, 2001. The slides presented during that program are available here.

More Information on EPA’s efforts to Identify Priority Chemicals for Review available here.

General information on EPA’s Enhancing EPA’s Chemical Management Program available here.

Information on EPA Development of Chemical Action Plans available here.