On April 12, 2017, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register denying a TSCA section 21 petition regarding a group of flame retardants. EPA explained that the petition did not demonstrate that there was insufficient data on these chemicals, and therefore the EPA found that the testing requested was not necessary. The petition was submitted by Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Toxic-Free Future, Safer Chemicals, Health Families, BlueGreen Alliance, and Environmental Health Strategy Center (“Earthjustice Petition”).
Under TSCA section 21, any person can petition EPA to initiate a rulemaking for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule under TSCA section 4, 6, or 8 or an order under TSCA section 4 or 5(e) or (f). The Earthjustice petition asked EPA to issue an order under section 4, requiring toxicity and exposure tests testing on particular flame retardants. The flame retardants at issue are chlorinated phosphate esters (“CPE”). The CPE Cluster is comprised of
- tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate ((“TCEP”) (CAS No. 115-96-8),
- 2-propanol, 1-chloro-, phosphate (“TCCP”) (CAS No. 13674-84-5), and
- 2-propanol, 1,3- dichloro, phosphate (“TDCPP”) (CAS No 13674-87-8).
These substances had previously been evaluated during EPA’s TSCA Work Plan Chemical Problem Formulation and Initial Assessment. Millions of pounds of the substances are manufactured and imported annually.
The Federal Register notice explained that EPA must make several findings in order to issue a rule or order to require testing under section 4. EPA must find that information and experience are insufficient to reasonably determine or predict the effects of a chemical substance on health or the environment and that testing is necessary to develop the missing information. EPA must also find that the chemical substance may present an unreasonable risk of injury under section 4. EPA did find that the manufacture, distribution in commerce, processing, use, or disposal of the CPE Cluster chemicals may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. However, EPA stated that the petitioners failed to demonstrate that the information and experience available to EPA are insufficient to reasonably determine or predict the effects on health or the environment from “manufacture, distribution in commerce, processing, use, or disposal” (or any combination of such activities) of the CPE Cluster chemicals, and therefore the Agency found that the testing requested by the petitioners is unnecessary.
In March, EPA denied a section 21 petition by Earthjustice and others to require additional testing on the flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A (CAS No. 79-94-7).