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In addition to phthalates, the chemicals EPA addresses are short-chain chlorinated paraffins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA. These chemicals are used in the manufacture of an array of products and have raised a range of health and environmental concerns.
EPA also recently announced that three U.S. companies agreed to phase out DecaBDE, a widely used fire retardant chemical that may potentially cause cancer and may impact brain function.
On September 29, 2009, Administrator Linda P. Jackson outlined a set of agency principles to help inform legislative reform and announced that EPA would act on a number of widely studied chemicals that may pose threats to human health. When TSCA was passed in 1976, there were 60,000 chemicals on the inventory of existing chemicals. Since that time, EPA has only successfully restricted or banned five existing chemicals and has only required testing on another two hundred existing chemicals. An additional 20,000 chemicals have entered the marketplace for a total of more than 80,000 chemicals on the TSCA inventory.
The actions announced on Dec. 30 include:
- Adding phthalates and PBDE chemicals to the concern list.
- Beginning a process that could lead to risk reductions actions under section 6 of TSCA for several phthalates, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, and perfluorinated chemicals.
- Reinforcing the DecaBDE phaseout - which will take place over three years - with requirements to ensure that any new uses of PBDEs are reviewed by EPA prior to returning to the market.
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals.