In recent weeks, US EPA announced three chemical risk evaluations required under TSCA as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act or "Lautenberg Law." The Lautenberg Law requires EPA to assess the risks of all chemicals on the TSCA inventory.
TSCA chemical risk evaluations are now complete for n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP); 1, 4 Dioxane; and chrysotile asbestos.
Final Risk Evaluation: n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)
EPA’s Final Risk Evaluation for NMP
finds no unreasonable risk to the environment or the general population.
EPA found unreasonable risks to consumers for one use (in adhesives and sealants) and found unreasonable risk for workers and occupational non-users in twenty-five uses. Risks posed to consumers and workers come from short-term and long-term inhalation, direct skin exposure, and vapor-through-skin exposure.
Used as a substitute for halogenated solvents, NMP (CASRN 872-50-4) is used in chemical manufacturing, petrochemical processing, and electronics industry. It is also used in semiconductor fabrication and the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
Commercially, NMP is used to produce and remove paints, coatings, and adhesives, and in solvents, sealers, inks, and grouts.
Review the Final Risk Evaluation for NMP here.
Final Risk Evaluation: 1,4 Dioxane
: EPA's final TSCA risk evaluation for 1,4 Dioxane
appeared in the January 8, 2021 Federal Register.
On December 31, EPA announced completion of the final risk evaluation for 1,4 Dioxane (CASRN 123-91-1).
EPA found no unreasonable risks
- The environment;
- consumers or bystanders; or
- the general population.
EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users
for 13 of the 24 conditions of use it studied.
Often called simply “dioxane,” 1-4 dioxane is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. EPA’s risk evaluation states that 90% of the 1,4-dioxane produced is used as a stabilizer in chlorinated solvents. It is also used in laboratory chemicals, adhesives, sealants, and polyurethane foam.
Review the Final Risk Evaluation for 1,4 Dioxane here.
Final Risk Evaluation: Chrysotile Asbestos
Raw chrysotile asbestos is the only type of asbestos known to be imported, processed, or distributed for use in the US at this time. Raw chrysotile asbestos is used only by the chlor alkali industry, which produces chlorine and sodium hydroxide for industrial use.
While most consumer products that contain asbestos have been discontinued, the US still imports a few products containing chrysotile asbestos, such as aftermarket car brakes, brake blocks, and gaskets.
EPA finds no unreasonable risk to the environment. The risk evaluation finds unreasonable risks
for half of the conditions of use studied (16 out of 32). Risks to workers from chrysotile asbestos come from inhalation.
The risk evaluation of chrysotile asbestos is Part 1 of EPA’s asbestos risk review
. Part 2 of the review will focus on legacy uses and disposals of asbestos.
Review the Final Risk Evaluation for Chrysotile Asbestos here.
What Happens Now?
Once EPA identifies unreasonable risk to human health or the environment for a chemical, TSCA (as amended) requires the EPA to establish regulations to mitigate or remove the unreasonable risk.
The agency’s next step is to write those regulations, which could impose limits on manufacturing, processing, using, storing, or disposing of the chemical. As with most environmental regulations, the EPA will have to publish a proposed version of the rule first and open up public comment before revising and promulgating the final rule.
LCSA allows the EPA two years from the publication of the final risk evaluation to complete the risk management portion of the process.
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