EPA announced on December 30 a series of actions on four chemicals raising serious health or environmental concerns, including phthalates. EPA intends to establish a Chemicals of Concern list and is beginning a process that may lead to regulations requiring significant risk reduction measures to protect human health and the environment. In addition to phthalates, other chemicals being addressed are short-chain chlorinated paraffins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA. These chemicals are used in the manufacture of a wide array of products and have raised a range of health and environmental concerns. EPA also recently announced that three U.S. companies agreed to phase out DecaBDE, a widely used fire retardant chemical that may potentially cause cancer and may impact brain function.
On September 29, 2009, Administrator Jackson outlined a set of agency principles to help inform legislative reform and announced that EPA would act on a number of widely studied chemicals that may pose threats to human health. The actions announced on December 30 include:
· Adding phthalates and PBDE chemicals to the concern list.
· Beginning a process that could lead to risk reductions actions under section 6 of TSCA for several phthalates, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, and perfluorinated chemicals.
· Reinforcing the DecaBDE phaseout – which will take place over three years – with requirements to ensure that any new uses of PBDEs are reviewed by EPA prior to returning to the market.