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chemicals

TSCA Chemical Inventory Outdated, Industry Says

chemicalsMore than 85,000 chemicals fall under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulations — but the EPA has no idea how many of those chemicals are actually in use, Chemical & Engineering News reports.

The amendments made to the TSCA last year require the agency to designate each of the chemicals on the TSCA inventory as either in “active” or “inactive” use by June 19. By the same deadline, the EPA must also finalize the scope of its risk evaluations for 10 high-priority chemicals that the agency selected for review late last year.

But as the agency struggles to implement the new provisions under the amended TSCA, its lack of knowledge about chemicals in commerce is becoming increasingly apparent, C&EN reports.

At a public meeting on Feb. 14 about the 10 substances selected for risk evaluation, attendees told the agency that some of the 10 chemicals are no longer produced in the US or are not being used for certain purposes.

For example, Paul DeLeo, associate vice president of environmental safety at the industry group American Cleaning Institute, told the EPA that 1,4-dioxane is no longer used as an ingredient in consumer products.

Richard Morford, chief executive officer and general counsel of ENVIRO Tech International, the largest provider of solvents based on n-propyl bromide (NPB) in the US, said the EPA is using outdated information on NPB, also known as 1-bromopropane. The agency says the substance is used as an alternative to trichloroethyl­ene for spotting and stain removal in dry cleaning.

Dry cleaners haven’t used NPB for spotting in years, Morford said. “The use of NPB in dry cleaning is virtually dead,” he told the EPA. Instead, the industry uses less hazardous spotting agents, including soy-based cleaners, glycol ethers, acetone and blends of these substances.

Chemical manufacturers have also told the EPA that the TSCA amendments have created a backlog of chemicals awaiting EPA approval, which is hurting business.

 

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