EPA to Assess Flame Retardant Chemicals for Safety

The assessment will determine if 23 commonly used flame retardant chemicals are dangerous to both the population and the environment.

Twenty-three commonly used chemicals will be assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency, with these studies focusing on the flame retardant chemicals and their effects on health and the environment, the agency announced yesterday. This risk assessment is part of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Some flame retardant chemicals, which are commonly found in electronics, textiles, and even household furniture, can persist in the environment. They even have developmental neurological effects on animals.

“EPA is committed to more fully understanding the potential risks of flame retardant chemicals, taking action if warranted, and identifying safer substitutes when possible,” said James J. Jones, Acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, on the EPA website. “Though today’s announcement represents a significant step forward on chemical safety, it’s important to remember that TSCA, this country’s chemicals management legislation, remains in dire need of reform in order to ensure that all Americans are protected from toxic chemicals in their environment.”

This evaluation will determine the risks to the population and the environment. Already, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA has identified about 50 flame retardant chemicals that have proven to be environmentally safe and safe for humans. These could provide alternatives to any chemicals determined to be harmful.

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