More than 150 chemicals used in health and safety studies and found in air fresheners, non-stick and stain resistant materials, fire resistant materials and other compounds and formulations have been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which rejected claims by the chemical industry that the names of the substances should be kept under wraps.
The EPA said it took the step to provide the public with greater access to information on the chemicals that are manufactured and used in the United States.
“For these 104 studies, the chemical identity will no longer be redacted, or kept from view,” according to a statement released by the EPA. “This action to disclose the identity of more than 150 chemicals is an important step in EPA’s commitment to give the American people access to critical information about chemicals that their children and families may be exposed to,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “A health and safety study with the chemical name kept secret is completely useless to the public.”
In 2010, EPA challenged industry to voluntarily declassify unwarranted claims of confidential business information (CBI). The agency also issued new guidance outlining plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Based on this guidance, EPA notified a number of companies in February 2011 that the agency had determined that their CBI claim was not eligible for confidential treatment under TSCA and that EPA intended to make the information public.
The health and safety studies include some declassified by the agency and other voluntary declassifications by companies in response to EPA’s challenge. EPA is committed to posting new declassified materials under TSCA on the agency website on a regular basis.
In addition to these actions, EPA over the past several months has taken a number of other steps to make chemical information more readily available. The agency has provided the public, for the first time ever, with free access to the consolidated TSCA Inventory on the EPA and Data.Gov websites. EPA also launched a new chemical data access tool that for the first time gives the public the ability to electronically search EPA’s database of more than 10,000 health and safety documents on a wide range of chemicals that they may come in contact with every day. EPA will continue to take actions to increase the public’s access to chemical information.