The EPA’s draft report on alternatives to hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is part of a long-term effort by the agency to deal with the toxic, bioaccumulative flame retardant – but the EPA could be hamstrung until Congress reforms the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The UN in May banned the production and use of HBCD with a five-year grace period for its use as a flame-retardant in polystyrene building insulation, Agence France-Presse reports, and the chemical is also slated to be phased out by European Union counties by 2015 under EU chemical rules REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals). HBCD is on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants prohibited substances list.
The EPA, on the other hand, is in the initial stages of a risk assessment on HBCD, ChemicalWatch reports.
Baskut Tuncak, attorney with the Center for International Environmental Law, told the website that says the EPA’s scope for action is limited until Congress reforms TSCA. He added, “The US’s failure to ratify the Stockholm Convention is sadly due to the inability of lawmakers to take the first step, fixing the nation’s own broken domestic law for chemicals.”