The proposed bans focused methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), elements in paint strippers, and trichloroethylene (TCE), used as a spot cleaner in dry-cleaning and as a degreasing agent.
Underneath an overhaul of the Poisonous Substances Management Act final 12 months, the E.P.A. initially is reviewing the dangers of ten chemical substances, together with different makes use of of those three. The up to date legislation is named the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Security for the 21st Century Act, named after the late New Jersey senator who had lengthy championed an overhaul of the loophole-ridden poisonous substances legislation.
The revised legislation had robust bipartisan assist. The Senate handed the measure on a voice vote; the Home authorised it 403 to 12. The intention was to provide the E.P.A. the authority essential to require new testing and regulation of hundreds of chemical substances utilized in on a regular basis merchandise, from laundry detergents to provides.
In a compromise that dissatisfied some environmental advocates, the legislation required the E.P.A. to look at about 20 chemical substances at a time, for not than seven years per chemical. However the legislation expressly allowed for quicker motion on high-risk makes use of of methylene chloride, NMP and TCE.
Public well being consultants had been pushing for quicker evaluate of methylene chloride-based paint strippers after a number of deaths from inhalation, amongst them a 21-year-old who died just lately after stripping a bath.
It has been a number of years for the reason that E.P.A. first declared these purposes of the three chemical substances to be harmful. The company itself has discovered TCE “carcinogenic to people by all routes of publicity” and has reported that it causes developmental and reproductive injury.
“Potential well being issues from publicity to trichloroethylene, primarily based on restricted epidemiological knowledge and proof from animal research, embody decreased fetal development and start defects, notably cardiac start defects,” company officers famous in 2013.
Methylene chloride is poisonous to the mind and liver, and NMP can hurt the reproductive system.
Michael Dourson, President Trump’s nominee to supervise the E.P.A.’s chemical security department, represented the Halogenated Solvents Business Alliance earlier than the E.P.A., which was contemplating restrictions on TCE.
Mr. Dourson, who withdrew his title from consideration final week, had been working as an E.P.A. adviser whereas awaiting affirmation. The company didn’t reply to a question about whether or not Mr. Dourson had been concerned within the analysis of TCE.
The E.P.A. now describes the enforcement actions concerning TCE, methylene chloride and NMP as “long-term actions’’ with out a set deadline.
“The delays are very disturbing,” stated Dr. Richard Denison, lead senior scientist of the Environmental Protection Fund. “This newest agenda exhibits that as a substitute of utilizing their expanded authorities beneath this new legislation, the E.P.A. is shoving well being protections from extremely poisonous chemical substances to the very again of the again burner.”
Senator Frank Pallone, Democrat of New Jersey and the rating minority member of the Home Vitality and Commerce committee, agreed, saying, “These indefinite delays are pointless and harmful.”
“The dangerous impacts of those chemical substances are avoidable, and E.P.A. ought to finalize the proposed guidelines as quickly as attainable,’’ he added.