[Pharmwaste] 3 articles - Puget Sound laundry waste water; atrazine study; EPA to review 6 chemicals

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Wed Sep 30 08:51:51 EDT 2009

Franken seeks ingredient labeling for household cleansers

Laundry waste water harming Puget Sound, study says

Studies show evidence that atrazine harms fish and amphibians, USF
researchers say

EPA unveils plan to review 6 controversial chemicals, reform US toxics policy

President Obama's top environmental official announced a new push to
transform the way the nation regulates toxic chemicals that may endanger
people and the environment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Lisa Jackson called the workings of a 1976 law 'inordinately
cumbersome and time-consuming' and said the administration will promote a new
chemical law in Congress.In the meantime, the EPA will analyze and regulate
six high-profile, widely used chemicals that have raised health concerns,
including BPA and phthalates. 


By Jane Kay

Environmental Health News

September 29, 2009

 Reporting from San Francisco

Saying that the public is "understandably anxious and confused" about
chemicals in their bodies and in their environment, President Obama's top
environmental official announced on Tuesday a new push to transform the way
the nation regulates industrial compounds.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson called the
nation's 1976 toxics law "inordinately cumbersome and time-consuming."  As a
result, she said the Obama Administration will promote a new chemical law in
Congress in the coming months that puts the responsibility on industry to
prove that its compounds are safe.

In the meantime, Jackson said, the EPA will begin to analyze and regulate six
high-profile chemicals that have raised health concerns. Included are
bisphenol A, or BPA, found in hard, clear polycarbonate bottles, and
phthalates, which are used in vinyl and cosmetics.

Also targeted are brominated flame retardants added to electronics and other
goods; perfluorinated compounds used in manufacturing non-stick coatings and
food packaging; some parafins, used in lubricants, and benzidine dyes and
pigments. Many scientists say these chemicals can mimic hormones and obstruct
development of fetuses and children, as well as possibly cause reproductive
problems, cancer or other health effects.

Jackson's announcement signals a dramatic shift away from the policy of the
Bush administration. Top EPA officials who testified before Congress three
years ago defended the Toxic Substances Control Act as effective in
safeguarding public health from industrial chemicals.

Jackson said the EPA is gathering data from industry on the six chemicals so
the agency can assess their safety and develop action plans with firm
deadlines to limit exposure. The EPA may restrict their use or require labels
on consumer products to warn of risks. The agency already has such authority
under the existing law, she said.

The EPA will start with the six high-profile chemicals, then add more. EPA
officials said they will post four "chemical action plans" in December
describing how they will handle the initial compounds, and then post plans
for more chemicals in four-month intervals.

Some 80,000 chemicals-some of them widely used in consumer products--are in
commerce today, and some lack detailed health and safety data. Jackson said
the agency and the manufacturers will review and act on chemicals with the
highest priority in a timely manner.

"As more and more chemicals are found in our bodies and the environment, the
public is understandably anxious and confused. Many are turning to government
for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available
science, and that unacceptable risks haven't been ignored," Jackson told an
audience of several hundred people during a speech at the Commonwealth Club
in San Francisco on Tuesday night.

An audience member asked if the EPA would add the right of citizens to sue
for non-compliance of the law, a provision that lies within the Clean Water

"That's a great idea," she said, and "it was certainly something to

She credited citizens and states with taking their own steps to manage
industrial chemicals, and said it differentiated new environmentalism from
old environmentalism.

"The power of citizenry should never be ignored," she said. For example,
mothers of infants concerned about chemical exposure have prompted many
manufacturers to produce BPA-free baby bottles.

Jackson made the announcement during her first trip to California as head of
the EPA.  California last year enacted new chemical legislation, which is
designed to spur stronger regulations to manage chemicals.

Representatives of environmental groups that have been participating in talks
with the EPA and industry praised the administration for its plan.

In addition, the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical
manufacturers, says it has agreed in principle to "supply some level of
support" to pay for more increased study and other efforts to assess the
safety of compounds.

"We understand that industry has to provide more data and a greater
transparency to that data," said Cal Dooley, president of the American
Chemistry Council. One of the driving forces of the industry's participation
is the desire to win consumer confidence in products and to regain world
leadership in chemical safety, Dooley said.

Under the current law, some 7,000 chemicals are produced or imported annually
in amounts above 25,000 pounds, according to industry figures.

Only five have been banned or restricted since the law was enacted 33 years
ago. The law requires the EPA to prove a toxic substance "presents an
unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment," consider the costs
of restricting its use and choose "the least burdensome" approach to regulate

Asbestos was banned in most uses, but it was thrown out of court when the
manufacturers won a court battle in 1989.

"The asbestos decision had a chilling effect" on EPA, Jackson said.

In making the announcement, Jackson released a set of principles that she
hoped would guide Congress in coming up with a new law.

The EPA isn't focused as much on rewriting the existing law as it is on
coming up with one that would strengthen the agency's ability to protect the
public, she said.

Under the set of principles announced Tuesday, EPA would require
manufacturers to supply enough information to conclude that new and existing
chemicals are safe and don't endanger public health or the environment. The
EPA also wants clear authority to ban or restrict chemicals, although it
would retain flexibility to consider social benefits and costs.

Representatives of the Environmental Working Group, Earthjustice and the
Breast Cancer Action Fund question how the new regulatory program might work.
Rick Hind of Greenpeace wonders if legislation would pre-empt state action,
since some states already have taken action against several chemicals.

Both EPA and industry officials said today they wouldn't attempt to pre-empt
state action at this time. Industry officials prefer a federal law to what
they describe as a "patchwork" of state controls.

Many experts say the United States has fallen far behind in regulating toxic
substances. In 2007, the European Union began implementing the world's most
restrictive chemicals law. It requires manufacturers to provide basic data on
the properties of thousands of chemical substances. The European Chemicals
Agency then will review the chemicals, and require substitution of the most
dangerous ones.

Laurie Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Waste Reduction Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Rd., MS 4555
Tallahassee FL 32399-2400
P: 850.245.8759
F: 850.245.8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

Mercury: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/mercury/default.htm 

Unwanted Medicine:

The Department of Environmental 

Protection values your feedback as a customer. DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole is committed to continuously assessing and 

improving the level and quality of services provided to you. Please take a few minutes to comment on the quality of 

service you received. Copy the url below to a web browser to complete the DEP 

survey: http://survey.dep.state.fl.us/?refemail=Laurie.Tenace@dep.state.fl.us Thank you in advance for completing the survey.

More information about the Pharmwaste mailing list