Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency declassified the identities of 150 chemicals that appeared in toxicity reports, some as long as 30 years ago.
Many were found to pose “substantial risk” to consumers or the environment, and include ingredients found in everything from air fresheners to chemicals used in the cleanup of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year.
The names of the chemicals were previously redacted as Confidential Business Information (CBI) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. Although the TSCA required that all chemical data withheld as CBI be justified by a “detailed written explanation,” the problem lay in the sheer volume of such filings; claims were left unchallenged, and the chemical identities they redacted were left unknown.
The names of 17,000 of the 84,000 chemicals on the agency’s toxic substances inventory are not publicly available, according to the NYT Green Blog.
Last year, the EPA announced the launch of a long process to review confidentiality claims on chemical identities that turned up in health and safety studies. Any information that “does not explicitly contain process information or reveal portions of a mixture” would be declassified after a formal request was made to the manufacturing company.
“A health and safety study with the chemical name kept secret is completely useless to the public,” Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a press release.
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