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EPA to Screen More Coating Chemicals

Monday, November 22, 2010

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The Environmental Protection Agency will screen 134 chemicals, including some used in paints and coatings, for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system.

The new list is the second one issued by EPA as part of its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program.

It includes Toluene Diisocyanate, used in the production of a wide variety of polyurethanes; Ethylene Glycol, a widely used co-solvent in water-based paints and coatings; Methanol, used as a shellac thinner; and Xylenes, a common ingredient in lacquers and industrial maintenance coatings.

The list was published Nov. 17 in the Federal Register.

‘Best Available Science’ Promised

The EPA warns that the public “should not presume the listing of a chemical or substance indicates it interferes with the endocrine systems of humans or other species simply because it has been listed for screening under the EDSP.”

The chemicals were selected for testing “based only on their pesticide registration status and/or because such substances may occur in sources of drinking water to which a substantial population may be exposed,” EPA said.

On the other hand, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said endocrine disruptors “represent a serious health concern for the American people, especially children.”

Jackson said EPA would use “the best available science to examine” the chemicals “and ensure that they are not contaminating the water we drink and exposing adults and children to potential harm.”

PSN_11.23_EPA_Lisa Jackson
Endocrine disruptors “represent a serious health concern for the American people,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The chemicals listed include those used in products such as solvents, gasoline, plastics, personal-care products, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.

Hormonal Disruption

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with, and may disrupt, hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction. Concerns about endocrine disruptors emerged in the 1990s, and laboratory studies have linked a variety of chemicals to disruption of the endocrine systems of animals, EPA said.

The list is the second group of substances targeted by the EPA for study as potential endocrine disruptors. In April 2009, the agency announced an initial list of 67 chemicals to be screened.

The first list was chosen strictly on the basis of exposure potential and included the solvents acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, and toluene, as well as several types of phthalates.

Endocrine Disruptors

After public comment and review, the EPA said it would issue test orders to chemical manufacturers to compel them to generate data to determine whether their chemicals may disrupt the estrogen, androgen and thyroid pathways of the endocrine system.  

Under the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, EPA is required to screen pesticide chemicals for their potential to produce effects similar to those produced by the female hormones (estrogen) in humans. The law gave EPA the authority to screen certain other chemicals and to include other endocrine effects.

Based on recommendations from an Advisory Committee, EPA has expanded the screening program to include male hormones (androgens) and the thyroid system, and to include effects on fish and wildlife.

Endocrine disruptors are suspected to cause possible adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans and wildlife.


Tagged categories: Coating chemistry; EPA; Health and safety; Raw materials

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