Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a list of the initial 10 chemicals that the agency will review for safety under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law. Issuing the list starts the clock for EPA evaluation of the safety of these high priority chemicals, and implementation of steps to protect the public from unsafe exposures to these chemicals if they are found to present a risk to public health. Based on the new statutory deadlines, the entire process of evaluation and regulation should take approximately five years.
Seven of the 10 chemicals are possible or known carcinogens, and four are connected to breast cancer risk: 1,4-dioxane, methylene chloride, TCE and carbon tetrachloride. 1,4-dioxane and methylene chloride are also on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Red List of chemicals of concern to avoid in personal care products.
One of the known carcinogens selected is asbestos – the chemical the EPA tried to regulate in the late 80’s that ultimately showed the complete ineffectiveness of the original TSCA. As the process of TSCA reform implementation proceeds, we will find out if this new version of the law does a better job of protecting public health.
The Breast Cancer Fund will continue to monitor and advocate for the most-health protective implementation of the new law possible, pressing the EPA to make full use of its new authority to protect the public from toxic chemicals, particularly those linked to breast cancer.
The EPA’s list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for safety includes:
- Carbon Tetrachloride
- Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
- Methylene Chloride
- Pigment Violet 29
- Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
“Seven of the ten substances on this list of the highest priorities for consideration under TSCA are cancer chemicals. There are varying amounts of evidence that each of them contributes to cancer, but more than enough in each case to justify getting them out of the economy. Finding safe substitutes for these chemicals would prevent cancer in workers, neighbors of chemical plants, and the general public. How many lives could be saved, and how many jobs created by investment in finding safe alternatives to these carcinogens?”
— David Kriebel, Sc.D., Professor, Department of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Lowell