Asbestos Federal agencies Regulation Manufacturing

Asbestos among first 10 chemicals EPA to analyze under updated TSCA


Washington – Asbestos is one of the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated for potential health and environmental risks under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Nov. 29.

The act amended the Toxic Substances Control Act by mandating that EPA evaluate existing chemicals under specific deadlines. The legislation establishes specific protections for “potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations … such as infants, children, pregnant women, workers, or the elderly.”

The chemicals were part of a list of 90 in the 2014 Update to the TSCA Work Plan. Those chemicals were chosen based on hazard and potential exposure to the public and other factors, including persistence and bioaccumulation.

Asbestos, a known human carcinogen, is used in chlor-alkali production; consumer products; coatings and compounds and roofing products. The other chemicals to be evaluated are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane – used in consumer products
  • 1-Bromopropane – used in consumer products
  • Carbon Tetrachloride – used in commercial and industrial products
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster [HBCD] – used as a flame retardant in extruded polystyrene foam, textiles and electrical and electronic appliances
  • Methylene Chloride [MC] – used in consumer products
  • N-methylpyrrolidone [NMP] – used in consumer products
  • Pigment Violet 29 – used in consumer products
  • Tetrachloroethylene [perchloroethylene or TCE] – used in consumer products
  • Trichloroethylene – used in consumer products and dry cleaning

EPA must release a scoping document for each chemical within six months, outlining hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations.

TSCA reform requires EPA to begin a new risk evaluation upon completion of one. By the end of 2019, the agency must be conducting at least 20 evaluations at any time.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace,” Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a press release. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

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