EPA adds to environmental toxin hit list

A couple of days ago, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a series of actions on four common chemicals raising serious potential health or environmental concerns, including phthalates.

The EPA also intends to establish a Chemicals of Concern list and is beginning a process that may lead to stiffer regulations on chemicals that pose to the environment.

The four chemicals named were:


Evidence has been found of toxic, pervasive human and environmental exposure to phthalates. Phthalates are used extensively as as plasticizers (softening agents) in polyvinylchloride (PVC) products; including toys.


Long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). They are bioaccumulative in and toxic to wildlife and humans, and are persistent in the environment. PFCs are used to provide non-stick surfaces on cookware, waterproofing, and oil, stain, and grease-resistant coatings on carpets, apparel, and paper. Also used as a fire-retardant material


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used as flame retardants in textiles, plastics, wire insulation, and automobiles.

PBDEs are not chemically bound to the products in which they are used, making them more likely to leach out of these products. PBDE’s are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment.

Learn more about PBDE


Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are used as secondary plasticizers and flame retardants in plastics. SCCPs are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to aquatic organisms at low concentrations.

The action plans for each of the above summarize available hazard, exposure, and use information; outline the risks that each chemical may present and identifies the specific steps the Agency intends to address those concerns.

Source: EPA