The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday that it will begin evaluating ten chemicals under the new federal chemicals law passed this summer. The list includes asbestos, the dry cleaning chemical tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene), and dioxane, a cancer-causing chemical found in baby shampoos and other personal care products.

The evaluations are the first step for EPA to decide whether to take regulatory actions on the 10 chemicals. EPA will have 3 years to complete the evaluations and then, if the evaluations show the chemical presents an “unreasonable risk”, an additional 2 years to take action.

EPA’s Ten Chemicals

The list is a good. All of the chemicals are a serious concern for public health and should be regulated by EPA.

1,4-Dioxane
1-Bromopropane
Asbestos
Carbon Tetrachloride
Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
Methylene Chloride
N-methylpyrrolidone
Pigment Violet 29
Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene) 
Trichloroethylen

What EPA’s Chemical List Means For Washington State

There are many chemicals worthy of EPA attention and the agency doesn’t have the resources to address many of them. Plus, under the upcoming Trump Administration, it’s a good bet restricting the use of harmful chemicals won’t be at the top of the agenda! That’s where the states come in.

Washington state must continue its important work on flame retardants under the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, as well as hormone-disrupting phthalates and the perfluorinated chemicals used in non-stick and stain resistant coatings. Washington will also need to fill critical information gaps in federal law. That means expanding existing law to require more reporting of chemicals in consumer products.

We’ll be watching EPA to make sure the evaluations are done right. But we’ve also clearly got our work cut out for us in Washington state too!

Image: CC by 2.0 Flickr