On June 22, the EPA released its first regulatory strategy, along with guidance and strategies known as “scoping documents”, detailing the evaluation of chemicals in commerce. These new rules and supporting documents are expected to affect manufacturers in various sectors, such as chemical, automobile, airplane, electronic parts and paint, as well as their suppliers and customers.

The three final rules will establish what chemicals in commerce have been most used in the past decade; classify chemicals as high- or low-risk priorities for the purpose of risk evaluation; and determine the way in which the EPA will evaluate high-priority chemicals. The establishment of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act last year required the EPA to examine the risks of chemicals in commerce and consider their risks to exposed population on a deadline basis.

The first regulation is called the inventory update or reset rule, and requires manufacturers and importers of chemicals to notify the EPA of all the chemicals they have developed, imported or processed over the past decade. If the manufacturer is unaware of the exact chemical that they have purchased, both the processor and the supplier of the chemical would inform the EPA of its specifics.

The prioritization rule, the second regulation, requires chemicals to undergo a screening process by the EPA to assess risk levels. The third and final rule, the risk evaluation rule, entails the Agency evaluating risks of high-priority chemicals through scientific analysis. This gives the EPA room to determine the risks, or lack thereof, any time during the risk evaluation process. If the EPA finds a chemical to have a high risk, the Agency must find a way to ensure the chemical meets safety standards for use.

So far, the 10 chemicals being evaluated as per the risk scoping documents are asbestos, pigment violet 29, 1,4-dioxane, HBCD flame retardants, carbon tetrachloride, 1-bromopropane, methylene chloride, n-methylpyrrolidone, trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene.

Source: Bloomberg

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