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EPA begins risk evaluation prioritization process for 40 chemicals

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Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, is seeking public comment on a list of 40 chemicals to prioritize for risk evaluation, according to a notice published in the March 21 Federal Register.

Publication of the list triggers a statutory requirement for EPA to designate at least 20 chemicals each as high and low priority by Dec. 22. A chemical identified as high priority is required to undergo a three-year risk evaluation, while the low-priority chemicals are not required to undergo evaluation.

Among the chemicals being considered for high-priority classification:

  • Seven chlorinated solvents
  • Six phthalates, or hormone-disrupting substances linked to several health-related issues
  • Four flame retardants
  • Formaldehyde
  • One fragrance additive
  • One polymer precursor

The 20 chemicals under consideration for low-priority identification have been evaluated previously by EPA or another government body, the notice states.

These chemicals are separate from the first 10 chemicals slated for evaluation for potential health and environmental risks under the Lautenberg Act. This past summer, EPA solicited comments on problem formation documents for the latter group of chemicals before releasing the first draft risk evaluation – for Pigment Violet 29 – in November. A Nov. 14 press release from EPA states that the agency planned to release draft risk evaluations for the remaining nine chemicals “in the coming months,” and intended to issue final risk evaluations for the first 10 chemicals by December 2019.

“EPA continues to demonstrate its commitment to the successful and timely implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a March 20 press release. “We are delivering on the promise of Lautenberg to better assess and manage existing chemicals in commerce and provide greater certainty and transparency to the American public.”

Review dockets for each chemical are available online at regulations.gov. Comments are due June 19.

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