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EPA aims to strengthen chemical risk evaluation process


Photo: jimfeng/iStockphoto

Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency says a new rule “charts the path for our risk evaluations to ensure we meet the core objective to protect public health under our nation’s premier chemical safety law.”

After weighing comment from a proposal published in October, EPA announced the rule, which enables the agency to codify changes from a 2021 retooling of the risk evaluation process under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The agency says changes include:

  • Expanding consideration of “real world” exposure pathways.
  • Clarifications to ensure EPA risk evaluations appropriately consider risks to workers.
  • Eliminating consideration of exposure reduction based on workers’ assumed use of personal protective equipment.

In a press release, Michal Freedhoff, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said the changes will “in turn lead to rules that workers and communities can count on to keep them safe.”

The TSCA, which the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amended, requires EPA to address chemical risks by proposing – within one year of a chemical review's release – regulatory actions such as training, certification, restricted access and/or ban of commercial use, and then accept public comment on any proposals.

“The procedures outlined in the rule apply to all risk evaluations initiated 30 days after the date of publication of the final rule or later,” EPA states in the release. “For risk evaluations that are currently in process, EPA expects to apply the new procedures to those risk evaluations to the extent practicable, taking into consideration the statutory requirements and deadlines.”

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