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EPA Prevents Harmful Chemicals from Entering the Marketplace

Release Date: 12/17/2014
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7849 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to protect the public from certain chemicals that have the potential to cause a range of health effects from cancer to reproductive and developmental harm to people and aquatic organisms.

“We are committed to protecting all Americans from exposure to harmful chemicals used in domestic and imported products,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention. “There must be a level playing field for U.S. businesses – which is why we’re targeting harmful chemicals no longer used in the U.S. that find their way into commerce, sometimes through imported products. This final action will give EPA the opportunity to restrict or limit any new uses of these chemicals, including imported goods with these chemicals.”

Today’s action addresses the following chemicals:

Most uses of certain benzidine-based dyes which can be used in textiles, paints and inks and can be converted in the body into a chemical that is known to cause cancer;

Most uses of DnPP, a phthalate, which can be used in PVC plastics and shown to cause developmental and/or reproductive effects in laboratory animals; and

    Alkanes C 12-13, chloro, a short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP), which can be used as industrial lubricants and are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic to aquatic organisms at low concentrations and can be transported globally in the environment.
      Some of the chemicals in today’s rule have previously been used in consumer products but are not used in the market today. Today’s Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act allow EPA to review any efforts by manufacturers, including importers, to introduce these chemicals into the market and take appropriate action to ensure that human health and the environment are protected. EPA believes that new uses of these chemicals should not be allowed without an opportunity for review and, if necessary, to place restrictions on these chemicals, as warranted.

      The action adds nine benzidine-based dyes to an existing SNUR. It closes a loophole to ensure that these chemicals and products containing them, such as clothing, cannot be imported without EPA review and possible restriction. EPA has investigated safer dyes and colorants as alternatives to benzidine as part of its Safer Chemical Ingredients List and Design for the Environment program.

      In 2012, EPA required companies to stop manufacturing and importing SCCPs and to pay fines as a result of an enforcement action. The SCCPs have been proposed for addition to the Stockholm Convention for Persistent Organic Pollutants: http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/ThePOPs/ChemicalsProposedforListing/tabid/2510/Default.aspx

      EPA is further evaluating related medium-chain (MCCPs) and long-chain chlorinated paraffins (LCCPs) as part of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments.

      EPA has added several phthalates to the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments. If a TSCA Work Plan assessment indicates a potential risk, the agency would determine if risk reduction actions, as appropriate, should be taken.

      These final SNURs will require anyone who wishes to manufacture (including import) or process these chemical substances for a significant new use to notify EPA 90 days before starting or resuming new uses of these chemicals. This notice will provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use of the chemicals and, if necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the activity.

      Additional information on this SNUR: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/managechemrisk.html#current.

      Fact sheet on benzidine-based dyes: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/benzidinefaq.html

      Fact sheet on DnPP:
      http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/dnppfaq.html

      Fact sheet on Alkanes: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/sccpsfaq.html