EPA to examine 23 commonly used chemicals


In a press release a week and a half ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that in 2013 it will look at the potential human health and environmental effects of 23 commonly used chemicals. This announcement is part of EPA’s work plan under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), an act passed in 1976 which grants EPA the “authority to require reporting, record-keeping, and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures.”


Which chemicals?

20 are flame retardants. Of the 20 flame retardants, 4 currently have enough data for the EPA to carry out full risk assessments to fully identify potential risks. They are

  1. 2-Ethylhexyl ester 2,3,4,5- tetrabromobenzoate (TBB),
  2. 1,2- Ethylhexyl 3,4,5,6-tetrabromo-benzenedicarboxylate or (2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6 tetrabromophthalate (TBPH),
  3. Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), and
  4. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD).

The information from the full risk assessments from these 4 flame retardants will be used to understand the possible risks of 8 of the remaining flame retardants whose chemical structures are similar to the 4 above.

3 are non-flame retardants. EPA will begin the process of developing risk assessments for:

  1. Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4),
  2. 1-Bromopropane, and
  3. 1,4 Dioxane.

EPA is asking the public, including chemical manufacturers, to voluntarily provide information on the toxicity of the chemicals to assist in their risk assessment and fill in data gaps.

For more information on EPA’s announcement, check out the links below.

EPA’s press release! The press release contains links to information on TSCA and it’s related work plans.

Mother Jones “EPA to Study Flame Retardant Chemicals. Finally.”

Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society “Flame Retardants Under Scrutiny”