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Corporate Overview

The Standard – December 2010

EPA Takes Action on Chemicals Used in Dyes, Flame Retardants, and Industrial Detergents

In August 2010 the US EPA took another step forward with its plan to address the potential health risks associated with chemical pollutants in the environment. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced new action plans for hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPEO), and benzidine dyes. These plans join previously developed action plans for bisphenol A (BPA), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, and short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs).

EPA's existing chemical programs address pollution prevention, risk assessment, hazard and exposure assessment and characterization, and risk management for chemical substances in commercial use. As part of the existing chemicals program, the EPA's action plans define a series of options the EPA can pursue toward reducing the risks associated with these chemical pollutants, with the authority of such programs as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Pollution Prevention Act behind them. Some of these action plans may include adding the compounds to the new Chemicals of Concern list, enforcing new use rules for the compounds, and imposing new requirements for reporting under the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The EPA may even opt to ban or limit the production of chemicals under these new programs.1


For more information about US EPA action plans for chemical pollutants, click here: EPA Action Plans


Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is a large-production volume flame retardant used primarily in expanded polystyrene foam (EPF) in the building industry, but is also found commonly in consumer products. HBCD has demonstrated characteristics of persistence in the environment, biomagnifications in the food web, and toxicity to aquatic organisms, according to EPA.

EPA is considering the following actions regarding HBCD.2

1) Adding HBCD to the Chemicals of Concern list
2) Designating HBCD as a significant new use compound, requiring manufacturers or processers to notify EPA before any manufacturing or processing
3) Potentially regulating HBCD to limit or ban manufacturing, processing, distributing, or using HBCD
4) Listing HBCD in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), requiring manufacturers or importers to list environmental release information
5) Conducting a “design for the environment” plan, encouraging users to move away from the use of HBCD in preference of other alternatives

With the new action plan EPA joins both the European Chemicals Agency, which in 2008 added HBCD as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) in its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which in August of 2010 submitted HBCD to its POPs review committee for inclusion in the list of Stockholm Convention POPs chemicals.






For a complete listing of EPA's Flame Retardant standards, click here: BFRs


Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates

Nonylphenol (NP) is primarily used in the manufacture of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEO). NPEOs are nonionic surfactants used in a wide variety of cleaning and degreasing applications, which generally allow for release into the aquatic environment. As with most compounds on EPA’s action plans list, these compounds can be classified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to a variety of organisms. NPEOs while toxic themselves, often break down in the environment to the more toxic NP. 

In the past NPEOs were commonly used in household detergent products, but with help from the detergent manufacturers this practice has been eliminated. Commercial and industrial use of these compounds however still persists. 

EPA is considering the following actions regarding NP and NPEO3:

1) Support and encourage the ongoing voluntary phase-out of NPEs in industrial laundry detergents.
2) Proposing a significant new use rule (SNUR) under
TSCA section 5(a) and a test rule for NP and NPEs under TSCA section 4. The proposed SNUR would designate use of NPEs in detergents and cleaning products a significant new use, which would require submission of a significant new use notice (SNUN) to EPA
3) Initiating rulemaking under
TSCA section 5(b)(4) to add NP and NPEs to the Chemicals of Concern list that present or may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.
4) Add NP and NPEs to the
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which would require facilities to report releases of these chemicals to the environment


CLM-4306-1.2 p-n-NONYLPHENOL


CLM-4512-1.2  p-n-NONYLPHENOL MONOETHOXYLATE   (ring-13C6)


CLM-4307-1.2 p-n-NONYLPHENOL DIETHOXYLATE    (ring-13C6)


CIL has developed a variety of new labeled and unlabeled nonylphenol branched-isomer standards. For a complete listing of EPA's nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates, click here: NP/NPEO


Benzidine Dyes

The EPA action plans for benzidine dyes cover 48 dyes derived from benzidine and related compounds 3,3'-dichlorobenzidine, 3,3'-dimethylbenzidine, and 3,3'-dimethoxybenzidine. Benzidine-based and congener-based dyes are used in the production of textiles, paints, printing inks, paper, and pharmaceuticals.4 Benzidine and dyes metabolized to benzidine are classified as carcinogenic, while the related compounds and dyes that metabolize to them are classified as reasonably expected to be carcinogenic.

EPA is considering the following actions regarding benzidine-based dyes5:

1) Adding four benzidine-based dyes to an existing TSCA section 5(a)(2) significant new use rule (SNUR). A SNUR requires manufacturers to submit an application to the agency for review.
2) Eestablishing a new
TSCA section 5(a)(2) SNUR for benzidine congener-based dyes, including 44 specific such dyes.
3) Proposing to eliminate the article exemption applied to SNURs to address potential concerns for exposure to these dyes on imported finished textiles.
4) Initiating action under
TSCA section 6, if EPA learns that these dyes are present in imported finished textiles.
5) Consider additional regulatory action, if EPA determines that there are other ongoing uses for these dyes and needs to obtain information necessary to determine whether those uses present concerns which need to be addressed.

DLM-1338-1.2  BENZIDINE (ring-D8)

DLM-3022-1.2  1.2 3,3’-DICHLOROBENZIDINE (diphenyl-D6)


1U.S. EPA Existing Chemical Program: Existing Chemicals
2U.S. EPA Existing Chemical Program: HBCD
3U.S. EPA Existing Chemical Program: NP/NPEO
4U.S. EPA Existing Chemical Program: Benzidine Dyes
5U.S. EPA Existing Chemical Program: Benzidine Dyes

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