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EPA Wants Powers to Limit Use of 14 Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that companies be required to report new uses of 14 chemicals known as glymes, currently used in a wide variety of applications including ink, paints, adhesives, batteries and vehicle braking systems.

The agency says that additional uses of glymes could lead to harmful reproductive and developmental health effects.

The proposed regulatory procedure is called a significant new use rule (SNUR), under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The SNUR would ensure that, before the chemicals are manufactured, imported or processed for their new use, the EPA will have 90 days to evaluate potential risks, and will have the ability to prohibit or limit these activities.

The proposed action is part of a recent EPA effort to strengthen its chemical management program.

Last month the EPA published the identities of more than 150 chemicals contained in 104 health and safety studies that had been claimed confidential by industry.  It has also launched public databases, including the Toxicity Forecaster database (ToxCastDB) and a database of chemical exposure studies (ExpoCastDB), and provided the public with free access to the consolidated TSCA Inventory on the EPA and Data.Gov websites. And on December 22, 2010, EPA publicly launched the Chemical Data Access Tool, which allows users to find health and safety data that has been submitted to the agency.

“This proposed rule would enable EPA to evaluate the use of these chemicals before Americans are subject to additional exposure to them in numerous consumer products,” says Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We need to take a closer look at the potential health effects that additional exposure to these chemicals could have.”

The SNUR is open for a comment period until September 9. The proposal and supporting information can be found in docket number EPA–HQ–OPPT–2009–0767 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov.

Picture credit: Horia Varlan

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