EPA: Formaldehyde Among Next Chemicals to Undergo Risk Evaluation
In late December, EPA finalized its list of the next 20 “high-priority” chemicals for upcoming risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The chemicals include formaldehyde, seven chlorinated solvents, six phthalates, four flame retardants, a fragrance additive, and a polymer precursor. Now that the list is finalized, EPA will begin a three-year risk evaluation process to determine whether the chemicals present an “unreasonable risk” to human health or the environment under the substances’ conditions of use. The agency expects to finalize “scoping documents” for each of the 20 chemicals by June 2020. The scoping documents will include the hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations EPA expects to consider during each chemical’s risk evaluation. EPA will accept public comment on these scoping documents as well as on the draft risk evaluations for these chemicals. The agency states that a chemical’s designation as high priority does not mean that it is high risk. EPA’s processes for prioritization and risk evaluation are outlined in TSCA as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. EPA previously proposed a list of 20 “low-priority” chemicals for which the agency has determined that risk evaluation is not warranted at this time. EPA intends to finalize its list of low-priority chemicals early this year. The agency’s proposed low-priority chemical substances include d-gluconic acid, 1-docosanol, 1,2-hexanediol, and 1-octadecanol. For more information, see EPA’s press release or the Federal Register notice that finalized the agency’s high-priority substances.