Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other


EPA proposal would ‘strengthen’ chemical risk evaluations


Photo: jimfeng/iStockphoto

Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency wants to expand the scope of chemical risk evaluation policies under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

EPA published a proposed rule on Oct. 30 that would allow the agency to codify various changes incorporated when it retooled the chemical risk evaluation process in 2021, including:

  • Using a “whole substance” approach – which requires risk evaluations to culminate in a single determination of whether the chemical presents unreasonable risk – when determining whether the public is protected from unreasonable risks from chemicals.
  • Expanding consideration of exposure pathways.

Additional amendments would:

  • Make clarifications to ensure EPA risk evaluations appropriately consider risks to workers.
  • Eliminate consideration of exposure reduction based on workers’ assumed use of personal protective equipment.

“Providing workers and communities with meaningful protections from toxic chemical exposures has to be grounded in sound science,” Michal Freedhoff, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a press release. “This rule will strengthen our chemical risk evaluations, which will in turn lead to more protective rules for workers and communities.”

As required under the TSCA – which the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amended – EPA must address risks by proposing within one year regulatory actions such as training, certification, restricted access and/or ban of commercial use, and then accept public comment on any proposals.

Comments are due Dec. 14.

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication