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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.