Programs on Enhanced Chemical Testing, Assessment & Characterization
Chemical Management Program
At the direction of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, in parallel with efforts to reform TSCA, EPA has initiated a comprehensive approach to enhance the Agency’s current chemicals management program within the limits of existing authorities. This effort includes: new regulatory risk management actions; development of chemical action plans for chemicals of concern; requiring information needed to understand chemical risks; and increasing public access to information about chemicals.
EPA is taking risk management actions on a number of chemicals, including lead, mercury, formaldehyde, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), glymes, and certain carbon nanotubes.
EPA is developing chemical action plans, which will target the Agency’s risk management efforts on chemicals of concern. These action plans are based on EPA’s review of available hazard, exposure, and use information, and will outline the risks that each chemical may present and what specific steps the Agency will take to address those concerns. On December 30, 2009, EPA posted action plans on phthalates, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in products, and short-chain chlorinated paraffins. On March 29, EPA posted an action plan on bisphenol A. Chemicals currently in the action plan development process include: benzidine dyes and pigments, diisocyanates, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), nonylphenol/nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPE), and siloxanes.
As part of the effort to ensure that EPA has the hazard, use, and exposure data critical to prioritizing chemicals for review and making risk management decisions, EPA intends to: require that companies submit information to fill the remaining gaps in basic health and safety data on HPV chemicals; make the reporting of chemical use information more transparent, more current, more useful, and more useable by the public; and require additional reporting on nanoscale chemicals substances.
EPA also intends to increase transparency and the public’s access to information about chemicals. On March 15, 2010, EPA announced that it was providing, for the first time, free access to the consolidated TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory.
Visit EPA’s Chemical Management Program website.
In 1998, the EPA along with the American Chemistry Council and the environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund challenged industry to provide basic screening level data. The HPV program allows companies the flexibility to test chemicals categorically based on the characteristics of a given substance as opposed to individual tests. To date, industry consortia have “adopted” almost 99% by tonnage of the HPV chemicals and produced summaries of toxicity data. However, there are about 500 “orphan” chemicals that have not been adopted by industry consortia and the program does not address chemicals that have achieved HPV status since 1998. The program does not cover the more than 6,000 moderate production volume chemicals that are produced or imported annually in cumulative quantities between 10,000 and 1,000,000 pounds (about 2 to 500 metric tonnes).
Visit the HPV website.
The HPV program is EPA's only systematic system to review basic hazard data on such a large number of existing chemicals, but because it is voluntary, EPA is limited in its ability to ensure the full participation of industry or the timely submission of hazard information. In March of 2008 EPA published a first collection of documents on chemical risk-based prioritization for HPV chemicals. The documents are based on hazard and use information gathered through the HPV program and will inform future prioritization decisions. Where appropriate EPA can then initiate further voluntary or regulatory options for chemicals that indicate a need for elevated concern.
Chemicals Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP)
ChAMP encompasses a commitment made by President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felip Calderon at the 2007 Security Prosperity Partnership Summit. The agreement committed the three countries to work together to accelerate and strengthen the management of chemicals in North America. Each country is sharing scientific information and approaches to chemical testing and risk management.
Under ChAMP, by 2012 the US will complete screening level hazard and risk characterizations and initiate action as needed on 6,750 high and moderate production volume chemicals manufactured or imported in the US each year. The EPA will build on and apply the results of EPA's work on the High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals (produced or imported in the US in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year), the information gathered in the 2006 Inventory Update Reporting Rule, or IUR, as well as Canada's categorization work. These efforts will be extended to Moderate Production Volume (MPV) chemicals (produced or imported in the US in quantities above 25,000 and less than 1 million pounds per year).
Visit the ChAMP website.
ChAMP has been superseded by the comprehensive approach to enhancing the Agency’s current chemicals management program announced by Administrator Lisa Jackson on September 29, 2009.
Voluntary Children’s Chemical Evaluation Program
In 1998, the EPA asked producers of some 23 chemicals that have been documented in human tissues to voluntarily evaluate their products with regards to risks to children’s health. In 1999, 35 companies and consortia agreed to test 20 of these chemicals. EPA later redrafted the project as a pilot program in response to stakeholder concerns of excessive animal testing. As part of the voluntary testing, manufacturers are asked to write a “Data Needs Assessment” to communicate to EPA what, if any, information should be collected during the next phase of the program (there are three tiers of testing corresponding to increasingly detailed tests). Information is then evaluated by a Peer Consultation Group of experts in toxicology and in evaluating exposure. EPA then determines whether an additional round (a higher tier) of voluntary testing is necessary.
Visit the Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program website.
PBT Chemical Reporting
The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a database made publicly available to inform the public about the release of toxic chemicals reported annually to EPA by manufacturers and some federal facilities. TRI was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) and expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Over the years, both the sectors required to submit TRI data and the number of substances inventoried have been expanded for a more comprehensive overview of community exposure. This expansion includes reducing TRI reporting thresholds for certain persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals and adding certain other PBT chemicals to the TRI list of toxic chemicals.
Visit the Toxics Release Inventory website.