Canadian Plastics

Industry targeted by EPA “Chemicals of Concern” list

Canadian Plastics   

Materials Toxic Substances

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is establishing a “Chemicals of Concern” list,...

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is establishing a “Chemicals of Concern” list, a process that may lead to new regulations regarding chemicals used in plastics.


According to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, the agency will undertake series of actions on four chemicals that are said to raise serious health or environmental concerns, including phthalates. The EPA’s authority to take these actions, Jackson continued, comes from the existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).



In addition to phthalates, the chemicals EPA is addressing are short-chain chlorinated paraffins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA.


The actions to be taken include adding phthalates and PBDE chemicals to the concern list and 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.


This latest action comes on the heels of EPA’s recent announcement 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.


“Chemical safety is an issue of utmost importance, especially for children, and this will remain a top priority for me and our agency going forward,” Jackson said. “We will continue to use our authority under existing law to protect Americans from exposure to harmful chemicals and to highlight chemicals we believe warrant concern.”


The EPA announcement provoked a critical response from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an Arlington, Va.-based industry organization. 

“Although the ACC supports EPA’s effort to outline possible agency actions for prioritized chemicals under the existing TSCA, ACC and its member companies are disappointed that the initial set of chemicals seem to have been selected based on little more than their current ‘high-profile’ nature,” said the Council in a release.


“The action plans released today include references to scientific studies that the agency believes make the case for restrictive action, but the agency should maintain their responsibility to review the weight of evidence for all scientific studies, even those that lead to a different conclusion,” continued Cal Dooley, ACC president and CEO. “The chemical industry supports modernizing the way chemicals are managed in commerce, but the process to date provides no evidence of a systematic, science-based approach to chemicals management. It is vital that this be addressed.”


More information on EPA’s legislative reform principles and a fact sheet on the complete set of actions on the four chemicals is available at this link. The complete text of the ACC’s response is available here.


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