EPA Adds 9 Chemicals, Removes 1 PFAS on SCIL


Late last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention announced in an emailed press release that the Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL) was being updated.

The SCIL serves as a living list of chemicals organized by the functional-use class that EPA’s Safer Choice program has evaluated and determined meets Safer Choice criteria. The update is part of the Agency’s ongoing efforts—announced in its 2021 PFAS Strategic Roadmap—to revisit past decisions about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and “address those that are insufficiently protective.”

With this update, there are a total of 1,064 chemicals listed on the SCIL.

Chemical Changes

In the update, the Agency shared that it was adding nine chemicals to the SCIL. The act of adding chemicals to the SCIL both supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals and incentivizes further innovation in safer chemistry, which can promote environmental justice, bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change and improve water quality.

The EPA also encouraged manufacturers to submit their safer chemicals to the Agency for review and list on the SCIL to increase the number of chemicals and the resource’s functional-use categories.

In addition to adding new chemicals to the SCIL, the EPA announced that it would be changing the status for one chemical (CASRN 27619-97-2, 1-Octanesulfonic acid, 3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,8-tridecafluoro-).

According to the emailed release, the chemical has recently been identified on the SCIL as a PFAS. 1-Octanesulfonic acid, 3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,8-tridecafluoro- is not used in any Safer Choice-certified products. It has, however, been used in anti-corrosion paints.

Previously, the chemical was added to the SCIL in 2012 based on the data available and the state of the Agency’s knowledge at the time. In taking the steps to remove the chemical, the EPA updated the SCIL listing for this chemical to a grey square—an act on the SCIL webpage to provide notice to chemical and product manufacturers that this chemical may no longer be acceptable for use in Safer Choice-certified products

A grey square notation on the SCIL means that the chemical may not be allowed for use in products that are candidates for the Safer Choice label, and any current Safer Choice-certified products that contain this chemical must be reformulated unless relevant health and safety data is provided to justify continuing to list this chemical on the SCIL.

The chemical won’t be removed immediately as there is a continually growing understanding of the toxicological profiles for certain PFAS and incomplete information on the potential health and environmental effects of these substances.

The data required for complete removal is determined on a case-by-case basis.

In general, data useful for making such a determination would provide evidence of low concern for human health and environmental impacts. Unless information provided to the EPA adequately justifies continued listing, the chemical would then be removed from the SCIL 12 months after the grey square designation.

The SCIL is a resource that can help many different stakeholders. Examples include:

  • Product manufacturers use the SCIL to help make high-functioning products that contain safer ingredients;
  • Chemical manufacturers use this list to promote the safer chemicals they manufacture;
  • Retailers use the list to help shape their sustainability programs; and
  • Environmental and health advocates use the list to support their work with industry to encourage the use of the safest possible chemistry.

The EPA’s Safer Choice program certifies products containing ingredients that have met the program’s rigorous human health and environmental safety criteria. The Safer Choice program allows companies to use its label on products that meet the Safer Choice Standard. The EPA website contains a complete list of Safer Choice-certified products.

More information about the EPA's Safer Chemical Ingredients List can be found here. To learn more about the EPA’s Safer Choice program, click here.

Recent EPA Chemical Notices

In November, the EPA announced that it improved public access to certain reports submitted by chemical companies in its web application for public access to non-confidential business information (non-CBI) on chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), including new chemical notices and notices of substantial risk.

With the improvement to the application, known as ChemView, the EPA has published previously unpublicized new chemical notices received under TSCA section 5 and notices of substantial risk provided by companies under TSCA section 8(e).

TSCA section 5 requires the EPA to publish a list of new chemical submissions it has received, including premanufacture notices, significant new-use notices, microbial commercial activity notices, test market exemption applications, notices of commencement of manufacture or import and test information submitted under section 5.

In 2022, the was reported to EPA make more than 25,000 new chemical notice records received under section 5, including notices received between 2014 and 2019 that had not been published previously, were available in ChemView.

The Agency added that it is planning to identify other older, previously submitted unpublished information to make available in ChemView and will publish newly received TSCA section 5 notices and TSCA section 8(e) reports on a near real-time basis.

In addition, the EPA has also published chemical health and safety studies received under TSCA section 8(d) on the platform. Regulations promulgated under TSCA section 8(d) require chemical companies to submit lists and copies of health and safety studies relating to the health and/or environmental effects of 50 specified chemical substances and mixtures.

More than 1,700 health and safety study records dating back to September 2021 have already been published in ChemView.

Regarding notices of substantial risk, under TSCA section 8(e), chemical companies are required to inform the EPA of information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a chemical may present a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. The EPA uses these notices to inform new and existing chemical risk assessment activities.

At the time, the EPA shared that it has published 3,900 notices of substantial risk records received under TSCA section 8(e) in ChemView, including more than 3,300 non-CBI notices submitted between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 20, 2021, that were not previously published due to resource limitations.

Moving forward, the Agency planned to publish all non-CBI versions of 8(e) notices received from Dec. 20, 2021, to the present, as well as additional notices received that are deemed completed within a week’s time.

The latest actions reportedly build upon the Agency’s commitment to enhance the transparency of its evidence-based scientific and policymaking processes related to the evaluation of potential risks posed by certain chemicals.

More recently, in December, the EPA announced that it finalized a revision to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk determination for perchloroethylene (PCE).

PCE is used in the production of fluorinated compounds, as a solvent for cleaning and degreasing, and in lubricants, adhesives and sealants. Several consumer and commercial products, such as common adhesives, aerosol degreasers, brake cleaners, aerosol lubricants, sealants, stone polish, stainless steel polish and wipe cleaners, also use PCE.

In its report, the EPA found that as a whole chemical substance, PCE presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health when evaluated under its conditions of use. The Agency’s decision to revise the risk determination was reportedly developed in accordance with policy changes formally announced in June 2021.

The revision also aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Orders and other directives, including those on environmental justice, scientific integrity and regulatory review.

Of the risks identified, the EPA noted that there were human health effects not related to cancer, such as neurotoxicity and liver effects, from acute and chronic inhalation and dermal exposures to PCE. However, the Agency also found that PCE could cause cancer as a result of chronic inhalation and dermal exposures.

Overall, the EPA determined that 60 of the 61 conditions of use the EPA evaluated to drive the unreasonable risk determination.

While the revised risk determination for PCE does not reflect an assumption that workers always and appropriately wear personal protective equipment (PPE), the decision should not be viewed as an indication that the EPA believes there is widespread non-compliance with applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.


Tagged categories: Construction chemicals; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA; Government; hazardous materials; Hazards; Health & Safety; Health and safety; NA; North America; President Biden; Project Management; Regulations; Safety; Toxicity

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