US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Lisa Jackson has announced that the EPA will create a list of “Chemicals of Concern” that will be a first step for regulation to protect health and environment. Phthalates and poly-brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, used as flame retardants) were added to the Chemicals of Concern list. This signals that the US EPA is committed to making the most of its existing chemicals regulation, TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act from 1976), decried by critics as obsolete, even as various initiatives to reform US chemicals policy move forward.
The Kid Safe Chemicals Act, one such reform strategy, would amend TSCA and is currently being debated in the US Congress. The Kid Safe Chemicals Act is modeled on REACH, and includes placing the burden of proof of safety on industry and expanding public access to information about chemical hazards and exposures. Additionally, there are also new components that include restricting the use of hazardous chemicals that are detected in human cord blood, creating more linkages between chemicals regulation and human biomonitoring.
For more information:
A primary hearing on the Kid Safe Chemicals Act occurred in December 2009: materials available here
Written on 10 March 2010.