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EPA Takes BPA, PBDE Flame Retardants Off The Hook

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12. September 2013

On September 6, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew two TSCA (Toxic Substance Control Act) draft rules which have been in the regulatory pipeline for a few years. The regulations, which included an initiative to compile a federal “chemicals of concern” list and a provision limiting the ability of companies to keep information about new chemicals out of public view, were deemed unnecessary. EPA issued a statement that the government has been undertaking several other steps to further the same goals.

 

The “chemicals of concern” rule would have added bisphenol A (BPA), eight phthalates, and the category of fire retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) used in a variety of plastic products. The EPA first submitted the proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in early 2010, citing its concern that “the hazards of these substances and the magnitude of human and/or environmental exposure indicates that they may present an unreasonable risk to human health and/or the environment.”

 

The second rule would have forced companies to disclose to the public the chemicals used in products and health and safety studies they conducted on these chemicals—much of which has been protected under “confidential business information.” EPA has noted a concern that limiting the amount of information that companies can protect “may result in fewer submissions of these important studies.”

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