US EPA has updated its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, the Agency’s list of priority chemicals for analysis, adding 23 new chemicals to the list while removing or consolidating 16 others.

US EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) produced the original list of Work Plan chemicals in 2012, identifying 83 chemicals for assessment based on a multi-factor screening process that weighed their potential for hazard, exposure, persistence, and bioaccumulation. While US EPA has stated that it intends to conduct risk assessments of these chemicals, to date US EPA has completed assessments for only four chemicals: dichloromethane, antimony trioxide, HHCB, and TCE.

US EPA’s update brings the total number of Work Plan chemicals to 90. The Work Plan was updated to reflect data collected by US EPA from the 2011 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reports and 2012 TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Rule submissions, which showed increased use of several chemicals and a significant drop in production for several others.

Specifically, the updated Work Plan adds ten chemicals that had been screened out of the 2012 Work Plan but are now being listed because of increased commercial availability and use in commerce:

  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • 2,5-Furandione
  • 2-Dimethylaminoethanol
  • 2-Hydroxy-4-(octyloxy)benzophenone
  • 3,3’-Dichloro-benzidine
  • 4,4′-(1-Methylethylidene)bis[2,6-dibromophenol] (TBBPA)
  • Barium carbonate
  • Dicyclohexyl phthalate
  • Molybdenum and Molybdenum Compounds
  • Pentachlorothiophenol

The Work Plan also adds five chemicals or chemical groups that were the focus of US EPA’s 2009-2011 Action Plans, as well as two chemicals that were not part of the 2012 chemicals screening but which were identified during US EPA’s separate assessment of flame retardants:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE)
  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
  • Nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPE)
  • The group of phthalates:  dibutyl phthalate (DBP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP), di-isononyl phthalate (DINP), di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP); and the flame retardants
  • Triphenyl phosphate (TPP)
  • Isopropylated phenol, phosphate (iPTPP)

US EPA stated that the 23 chemicals added to the Work Plan will be considered for assessment after 2017.

The 13 chemicals removed from the Work Plan because of their reduced production are:

  • 1,2,4,5-Tetrachloro-benzene
  • 4-Chloro-2-methylaniline (p-Chloro-o-toluidine)
  • Benz(a)anthracene
  • Dibenz(a,h)anthracene
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Dichloroacetic acid
  • Hexabromobiphenyl
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • N-Nitroso-ethylamine
  • N-Nitrosodimethylamine
  • Pentabromophenol
  • Polychlorinated naphthalenes
  • Tris(2,3-di bromopropyl) phosphate (TBP)

US EPA is also removing mercury and mercury compounds, which the Agency determined have already been well-characterized and are subject to risk management, as well as quartz, which US EPA found is only a potential hazard through occupational pathways that are adequately addressed under OSHA regulations.

The chemicals added to US EPA’s Work Plan impact a number of industries, covering flame retardants, dyes, anti-corrosives, and chemical intermediates used in the paper, rubber, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and electronics industries, among many others.