EPA Identifies Toxic Chemicals for Review

WASHINGTON (November 29, 2016) – The Environmental Protection Agency announced today the first 10 household and industrial chemicals it will assess and consider regulating to protect public health under the recently revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

The following is a statement by Daniel Rosenberg, Senior Attorney with the Health program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is a strong list.  These are harmful chemicals that pose risks to health or the environment.  It’s high time that asbestos—a proven carcinogen—and substances like it, are taken off the market.  But make no mistake: today’s announcement is only the first step in a years-long process.  In the meantime, product manufacturers and retailers need not wait for EPA; they should immediately stop using these chemicals and switch to safer alternatives.”


EPA selected this small handful of chemicals to prioritize for review from a list of about 90 chemicals in its Work Plan under TSCA.  This first action of identifying a priority list is a key step for the agency under the updated law. 

Creating the list starts a clock on a process in which EPA will evaluate the risks of each chemical.  When EPA finds that a substance poses an unreasonable risk to health or the environment, including to children, pregnant women and other vulnerable populations, it is then required to restrict their use.  Vulnerable individuals include people near manufacturing, processing, recycling and disposal facilities.

What happens over the next several years with these chemicals will largely determine the course of TSCA, and whether the recent revisions will succeed or fail. 

Under any administration, restricting these 10 toxic chemicals should be a priority to protect the public.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.