The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month issued a final rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requiring manufacturers of 19 high production volume (HPV) chemicals to test the health and environmental effects of the chemicals and submit the data to the agency. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made assuring the safety of chemicals one of her top priorities. This rule is one of a series of actions that EPA is taking to ensure that the agency has the data it needs to adequately review priority chemicals. HPV chemicals are produced in or imported into the United States in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year.
"This chemical data reporting will provide EPA with critical information to better evaluate any potential risks from these chemicals that are being produced in large quantities in this country," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "Having this information is essential to improve chemical safety and protect the health of the American people and the environment."
The chemicals noted in the rule have many consumer and industrial applications. For example, diphenylmethanone is used in consumer products and may be found in personal-care products; 9, 10-anthracenedione is used to manufacture dyes; C12-C24 chloroalkenes are used as metalworking fluids; pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) is a blasting and demolition agent; and leuco sulfur black is a fingerprinting agent.
The rule follows up on the voluntary HPV Challenge Program Chemical List launched by EPA that included chemicals used in household products such as hobby/craft glues, personal-care products, home cleaning products, home maintenance products, and automotive products. The program challenged companies to make health and environmental effects data publicly available for HPV chemicals.
Companies voluntarily supplied data on more than 2,200 HPV chemicals under the challenge program; however, no health and environmental effects data was provided on the 19 chemicals in the rule, making it necessary for EPA to require testing. In the coming year, EPA intends to require testing of other chemicals for which the agency has not received data.