Last week, Politico reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected formaldehyde, a contentious chemical linked to cancer and used in a wide variety of products, for the next round of study under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), along with 19 other chemicals.
According to the Politico article:
The pick is unlikely to assuage public health advocates dismayed by the Trump administration's delay of a major report on formaldehyde's risks. The Government Accountability Office reported this month that EPA political officials delayed another scientific review of formaldehyde under EPA's Integrated Risk Information System program. The chemical industry had been critical of that IRIS evaluation and sought to have EPA revisit the science.
EPA chemicals chief Alexandra Dunn insisted the TSCA review of formaldehyde would not nullify the IRIS review. "In fact, the work done for IRIS will inform the TSCA process. By using our TSCA authority EPA will be able to take regulatory steps; IRIS does not have this authority," she said in a statement.
Today's announcement kicks off a public comment period, with EPA expected to finish the prioritization process by December. That then begins a three-year evaluation to determine potential risks and eventually restrictions or even a ban.
Other chemicals selected for prioritization include several flame retardants, a chemical used in musk fragrances and six phthalates used to make plastics and vinyls.
EPA also listed another 20 chemicals as "low priority" candidates that it believes pose low risk and thus do not require further study for now.
WHAT'S NEXT: EPA will accept information on the chemicals from the public for 90 days. It faces a statutory deadline to initiate the evaluations by December.
You can read the EPA’s full announcement about the chemicals prioritized for risk evaluation here.