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The Environmental Protection Agency’s chemicals office will use the risk assessments it is developing for an initial group of 14 chemicals to evaluate, reduce, and manage risks in these and similar compounds that may already be in commerce or which companies would like to make or import, a senior chemicals official said April 18.

EPA has launched risk assessments on specific uses of 14 chemicals. The 14 are among a larger group of 83 “work plan” chemicals the agency announced in March 2012 it would gradually evaluate, Morris said (36 CRR 269, 3/5/12).

The conundrum of having identified chemicals that may pose a risk coupled with the inability to require manufacturers to provide data needed to determine whether the compounds actually pose a health or environmental risk “points out a gap in our information database about chemicals” and a challenge posed by the limited authorities the agency has under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Morris said.

Similarly, when the agency announces a chemical that is on the market poses a health or environmental concern, it frequently receives premanufacture notices (PMNs) from companies that would like to make or import a new chemical that may be slightly different from the existing one, Morris said.

OPPT hopes the data companies and other interested parties will provide due to the release of draft risk assessments will be helpful in analyzing the PMNs, he said. “Maybe, maybe not.”

The agency has scarce exposure data, however, Morris said. EPA is working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with the goal of making the information obtained as a result of the draft risk assessment as useful as possible not only to consumer uses of NMP but also to workplace exposures, he said.

When other committee members said EPA should be able to act on the basis of hazard information combined with market use and other exposure information it can estimate, Morris said “putting forward a [regulatory] case based heavily on hazard and little exposure data has not proved successful.”

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