Tags: epa | safety review | chemicals

Report: EPA Streamlines Safety Review Process for New Chemicals

Report: EPA Streamlines Safety Review Process for New Chemicals
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:09 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency is streamlining a safety review process for new chemicals, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

While industry officials have said the process is slow and cumbersome, former EPA officials and some advocates say the change will skip steps that are necessary to protect the public, NBC News reported.

The EPA will no longer require manufacturers to sign legal agreements that would prohibit the use of new, possibly hazardous chemicals under certain conditions, according to NBC News.

The agreements, called consent orders, would be required if the EPA believes the manufacturer's intended way to use the chemical poses a hazard for public health and the environment, but the orders will not be required when the agency believes there are risks with uses of the product that could be "reasonably foreseen" as a use in the future.

A broader regulation known as significant new-use rules will be used for chemicals likely to pose a risk if they are used for a different purpose than intended.

Jeff Morris, the director of the EPA's toxics program, said that dropping consent orders in those cases would improve efficiency.

Bob Sussman, a former EPA attorney during the Obama administration, disagrees, telling the network news the "EPA is explicitly disavowing and downplaying a tool that's really been a cornerstone of new chemical regulation. We believe EPA is taking a big step backward in the protection of health and the environment without an offsetting benefit."

According to some public health experts and former EPA officials, the new-use rules do not require testing, but could be recommended if a manufacturer wants to use a chemical that has been restricted.

Chemical industry groups say the EPA is placing stricter regulations on the use and expanding the scope of reviews, but they note the agency has listened to their concerns.

"This EPA has worked very well with industry. They really have certainly listened to what the specialty chemical industry has to say," Robert Helminiak, lobbyist for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, told NBC News.

In December, the EPA announced it would indefinitely postpone bans on uses of three toxic chemicals found in consumer products, The New York Times reported. 

The agency said that it was "curbing unnecessary regulatory burdens," the newspaper reported.

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The Environmental Protection Agency is streamlining a safety review process for new chemicals, and while industry officials say the process is slow and cumbersome, some advocates say the change will skip steps...
epa, safety review, chemicals
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2018-09-17
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:09 AM
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