EPA Aims to Limit First 5 Chemicals Under New Law

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the first five chemicals that it will target for exposure limits under the nation's new chemical oversight law.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, signed into law by President Obama in June, alters how the EPA evaluates the safety risks of chemicals currently used in commerce and newly proposed substances.

In July, the EPA unveiled a "roadmap" for implementing the law, which included designating the first 10 "high-priority" chemicals to receive expedited safety reviews within six months.

The first five chemicals include the flame retardants decabromodiphenyl ethers and tris (4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate, fuel and lubricant additive 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol and hexachlorobutadiene and pentachlorothio-phenol, which are used in rubber production.

The agency has until June of 2019 to propose actions for those chemicals.

“The new law directs us to expedite action to reduce risks for these chemicals, rather than spending more time evaluating them," Jim Jones, assistant administrator in the EPA’s office of chemical safety and pollution prevention, said in a statement.

The EPA also noted that manufacturers requested risk evaluations for two "PBT" chemicals used in fragrance mixtures — persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic — as an alternative to the expedited actions.

Advocacy groups previously called on the EPA to include asbestos — long a symbol of the nation's ineffective chemical laws — on its list of high-priority substances.

More in Operations