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    Comments and Feedback open for 90 days : EPA Proposes to Designate 20 Chemical Substances as Low-Priority Substances

    August 18, 2019

    You can see details at :  https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/supporting-information-proposed-low-priority-chemical

    On August 13, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the list of 20 chemical substances that it proposes to designate as low-priority substances for which risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is not warranted at this time. The pre-publication version of EPA’s proposed rule provides a summary of the approach used by EPA to support the proposed designations, the proposed designations for each of the chemical substances, and instructions on how to access the chemical-specific information, analysis, and basis used by EPA to make the proposed designation for each chemical substance. EPA published its Approach Document for Screening Hazard Information for Low-Priority Substances Under TSCA (Approach Document), which describes the literature review process for the information used in the screening review for each proposed low-priority chemical substance. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register will begin a 90-day comment period on the proposed designations and on EPA’s Approach Document.

    As reported in our March 22, 2019, memorandum, “EPA Releases List of 40 Chemicals Undergoing Prioritization for Risk Evaluation,” EPA released in March 2019 a list of 40 chemicals for which it initiated the prioritization process for risk evaluation. EPA selected 20 chemical substances as candidates for designation as low-priority substances and now proposes to designate the same 20 chemical substances as low-priority substances:

    Chemical Name Docket Number
    1-Butanol, 3-methoxy-, 1-acetate EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0106
    D-gluco-Heptonic acid, sodium salt (1:1), (2.xi.)- EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0107
    D-Gluconic acid EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0108
    D-Gluconic acid, calcium salt (2:1) EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0109
    D-Gluconic acid, .delta.-lactone EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0110
    D-Gluconic acid, potassium salt (1:1) EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0111
    D-Gluconic acid, sodium salt (1:1) EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0112
    Decanedioic acid, 1,10-dibutyl ester EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0113
    1-Docosanol EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0114
    1-Eicosanol EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0115
    1,2-Hexanediol EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0116
    1-Octadecanol EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0117
    Propanol, [2-(2-butoxymethylethoxy)methylethoxy]- EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0118
    Propanedioic acid, 1,3-diethyl ester EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0119
    Propanedioic acid, 1,3-dimethyl ester EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0120
    Propanol, 1(or 2)-(2-methoxymethylethoxy)-, acetate EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0121
    Propanol, [(1-methyl-1,2-ethanediyl)bis(oxy)]bis- EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0122
    2-Propanol, 1,1′-oxybis- EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0123
    Propanol, oxybis- EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0124
    Tetracosane, 2,6,10,15,19,23-hexamethyl- EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0125

    The supporting materials for the 20 proposed low-priority chemical substances will be available for comment in their respective dockets upon publication in the Federal Register. EPA has also posted the supporting materials on its website.

    EPA states that it generally used reasonably available information to screen the candidate chemical substances against the following criteria and considerations:

    • The chemical substance’s hazard and exposure potential;
    • The chemical substance’s persistence and bioaccumulation;
    • Potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations;
    • Storage of the chemical substance near significant sources of drinking water;
    • The chemical substance’s conditions of use or significant changes in conditions of use;
    • The chemical substance’s production volume or significant changes in production volume; and
    • Other risk-based criteria that EPA determines to be relevant to the designation of the chemical substance’s priority for risk evaluation.

    In conducting the screening review during the prioritization process, EPA states that it considered sources of information relevant to the screening-review criteria as outlined in TSCA Section 6(b)(l)(A) and 40 C.F.R. Section 702.9(a) and consistent with the scientific standards of TSCA Section 26(h). EPA collected and evaluated all hazard and fate information for the proposed low-priority substances in accordance with the methodology laid out in the Approach Document. In addition, EPA considered the hazard and exposure potential of the chemical substances and states that it did not consider cost or other non-risk factors in making the proposed priority designations.


    As expected, EPA has formally proposed as low-priority substances the 20 substances that EPA proposed in March as potential low-priority substances. Stakeholders will have 90 days to comment on whether EPA has met the statutory obligation to have information “sufficient to establish” that the substances do not meet the standard for high-priority substances (that the substances may present an unreasonable risk). Comments were filed on only seven of the 20 substances initially identified as low priority, and all comments supported the designations as low priority.
    Source : The National Law Review | August 15, 2019

    Cosmetic products ordered off shelves over asbestos

    July 31, 2019

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday ordered two types of cosmetic products manufactured by Tainan-based TJ Group (台鉅集團) off shelves nationwide after they were found to contain asbestos.

    The order came after US and Canadian authorities on July 3 informed the agency that five foreign-branded beauty products sold in those countries that were found to contain asbestos were made by a contract manufacturer in Taiwan.

    A preliminary investigation by the FDA found that four of the products were made by TJ Group, which was on July 9 ordered to remove the products from shelves nationwide as a precautionary measure.

    As a follow-up measure, the FDA inspected the company’s factory in Tainan and released the results of tests it conducted on nine of the 12 samples collected from the plant.

    It said that City Color Contour Palette and Contour Palette 2 Bronze Highlight were found to contain asbestos and were ordered off shelves.

    About 60 products, all manufactured by Fuqing Jianing Cosmetics Co (福清佳寧化妝品有限), a TJ Group subsidiary in China, were already on the market, the FDA said.

    People who had bought the two products should stop using them immediately and ask for a refund from the store where they bought them, FDA cosmetics and drug division chief Chang Chia-jung (張家榮) told a news conference.

    Remaining samples are still being tested, with the results expected to be released on Thursday or Friday, the FDA said.

    According to the Cosmetic Hygiene and Safety Act (化妝品衛生安全管理法), TJ Group could be fined NT$20,000 to NT$5 million (US$643 to US$160,823), Chang said.

    The company has been ordered to complete the product recall within two weeks, he added.

    Tainan authorities working with FDA officials on Friday inspected TJ Group’s offices and seized 385 products — 340 sets of City Color Contour Palette and 45 sets of Contour Palette 2 Bronze Highlight — the Tainan Department of Health said.

    The Tainan City Government has instructed the company to submit a recall plan within seven days and alert retailers of the recall, the department said.

    The company said it imported 457 of the products from China last year and removed them from shelves after receiving notification last month that similar products were found to contain asbestos.

    Asbestos poses serious health hazards, Chang said.

    Source : Taiwan News, 29 July 2019

    Link : http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/07/29/2003719536

    Occupational Health Risks: Asbestos

    July 20, 2019

    It is important to make sure workers are made aware of any presumed asbestos-containing materials found in buildings if they were built and installed before the 1980s.

    • By Emily Liptak
    • Jul 15, 2019

    The importance of occupational safety can often be overlooked when so many other aspects of a job need to take priority. Unfortunately, those completing the work can be at risk of exposure to dangers on a job site that could cause severe injuries and illnesses. Among the list of dangers found while working, asbestos is arguably the most notorious workplace hazard in history. Asbestos handling requires proper knowledge and extreme caution. More than 125 million people are exposed to asbestos each year, and a large number of those incidents occur on the job.

    What is Asbestos?
    Asbestos is a natural mineral that is utilized in a number of building materials due to its favorable properties. Asbestos is categorized into five different groups, including amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, tremolite, and the most commonly used form known as chrysotile.1 This mineral is resistant to heat and chemicals and is extremely durable, which makes it a popular tool to use within building materials such as:

    • Insulation
    • Roofing
    • Flooring
    • Tiles
    • Plumbing
    • Ductwork
    • Cement

    Asbestos has been banned in more than 60 countries worldwide but continues to be utilized in the United States, with the importation more than doubling in 2018.2 Although asbestos hasn’t been used in the United States for home construction since the 1970s, it is currently used in commercial construction, and vast historic use makes this a high risk in the demolition or remodeling of an older building or home.

    Asbestos exposure has the potential to occur virtually anywhere as it was once a component used in more than 3,000 products until 1988, when a law was passed requiring manufacturers to report asbestos production or use to EPA. Since then, the use of asbestos in everyday products has gone down, but it continues to be used in other areas of work.

    Those with the highest risk of asbestos exposure while on the job include:

    • Construction workers
    • Shipyard workers
    • Industrial workers
    • Manufacturing
    • Mechanics

    Potential Threats
    Occupational safety should always be of top importance, but when workers face the risk of asbestos contact it is vital that the protection of these employees is a top priority. There are a number of health implications that can arise if someone has been exposed to asbestos fibers. Although asbestos is not dangerous when sitting dormant, if fibers are released by something as simple as an accidental hole in the wall, those in its presence are put at risk.

    Asbestosis is a lung disease that can occur due to asbestos exposure. This exposure can cause scarring of the lungs3 and many associated symptoms, such as shortness of breath, weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pain, and a dry and continuous cough. Asbestosis occurs after prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers and will happen over a long period of time. This is a chronic disease; although it cannot be cured, it can be treated to continue an acceptable quality of life.

    Although asbestosis occurs after frequent exposure, mesothelioma can occur after being exposed just once. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that can be found within the lining of the heart, lungs, and stomach. Exposure to the most commonly used type of asbestos, chrysotile, a known carcinogen, is the cause for this form of cancer, and more than half of mesothelioma cases can be attributed back to workplace exposure.4 This cancer almost always has a poor prognosis, with only 9 percent of those diagnosed living five years or more.

    Given the potential health hazards and life-threatening illnesses that asbestos exposure brings, knowledge is power. Taking the proper safety precautions will help prevent someone from contracting these illnesses and will reduce the number of workplace-related illnesses and deaths.

    Worker Protections
    An illness such as mesothelioma doesn’t present itself for 10-50 years after exposure, so it is extremely important to take the proper safety precautions now to prevent an illness from appearing later on in life. There are a number of safety rules that should be followed to ensure the safety of those working on a job site, as well as those who live and work nearby.

    According to federal law, employees have the right to know about potential health hazards they may be exposed to while at work. It is also important to make sure workers are made aware of any presumed asbestos-containing materials, or PACMs, found in buildings if they were built and installed before the 1980s. Although a minimal amount of asbestos exposure is legal according to OSHA’s permissible exposure limit (PEL)5, that does not mean it is safe or that employees are not in danger.

    A proper workplace assessment must be done to make sure an area is safe for employees to inhabit, and continual monitoring must be completed, as well. Employers must keep records of previous asbestos scares and continue to update these records with each new test. In the end, if the proper protocols are followed and training is completed, employees and their employers should be able to safely work without concern for this unwanted danger.

    1. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/
    2. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190311005640/en/ADAO-Responds-New-USGS-Report-Asbestos-Imports
    3. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asbestosis/learn-about-asbestosis.html
    4. https://www.maacenter.org/asbestos/occupational-exposure/
    5. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3507.pdf

    Source : https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2019/07/15/Occupational-Health-Risks-Asbestos.aspx?m=1&Page=1

    With best wishes

    OSHA Warns That Some Chemicals May Cause Hearing Loss

    July 20, 2019

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a Safety and Health Information Bulletin warning that exposure to certain chemicals can cause hearing loss.

    According to the agency, research has shown that exposure to chemicals known as ototoxicants can lead to hearing issues as well as balance problems regardless of noise exposure. These chemicals – which can be found in some solvents, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals – can affect the way the ear functions.

    “Chemicals that can damage nerve fibers and tiny hairs within the ear are ototoxicants,” explains Strom & Associates.”Ototoxicant chemicals that affect hearing or balance can be found in many common products, including those that are used or spilled on construction worksites, factories, or in the home.”

    These chemicals can reach the inner ear through the bloodstream and damage the parts of the ear as well as its connected neural pathways.

    The risk of hearing loss is even greater when exposure to these chemicals is combined with higher noise levels. Hearing loss may be permanent or temporary depending on the length of the exposure, the dose of the chemical and the noise level.

    According to Safety and Health Magazine, OSHA has grouped these chemicals into five categories: solvents, pharmaceuticals, nitriles, asphyxiants, compounds, and metals.

    Several industries have a higher risk of exposure to ototoxicants, including agriculture, mining, construction and utilities. Several subsectors of the manufacturing industry are also at risk, including metal workers, textile workers, painters, and workers who build ships and boats.

    All forms of hearing loss can be devastating, but OSHA warns that speech discrimination dysfunction, a type of hearing impairment, is particularly dangerous. The affected worker cannot distinguish warning signals or voices from ambient noise.

    OSHA highlights the concerns of ototoxicant-induced hearing loss among health and safety professionals, as hearing tests cannot distinguish between noise-induced and ototoxicant-induced hearing impairment.

    The first step in preventing exposure to ototoxicants is to determine whether they are in the workplace. Employers can start by reviewing OSHA’s Safety Data Sheets to find ototoxic substances and/or chemicals.

    Additionally, employers must provide health and safety training and information to workers who are exposed to hazardous materials, including ototoxic chemicals.

    Exposure can also be reduced by replacing hazardous chemicals with less toxic chemicals. If it’s not possible to remove ototoxicants from the workplace, it may be possible to use engineering controls, such as enclosures and isolation, to control exposure to noise and ototoxicants. Wearing the appropriate clothing can also reduce exposure risk, as ototoxic chemicals can be absorbed through the skin.

    Strong Correlation Between Tubbs Fire Firefighters and Higher Chemical Exposure, Study Shows

    July 18, 2019

    Experts announced July 9 that some of the firefighters who fought the Tubbs Fire in 2017 have relatively higher levels of mercury in their blood.

    The study, by the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, examined 180 firefighters; 149 of whom were deployed to the Tubbs Fire, and 31 of whom were not. Of the 149 who were sent out, 10 were found to have elevated levels of mercury.

    CalFire firefighters monitor a firing operation as they battle the Tubbs Fire on October 12, 2017 near Calistoga, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    “You’re putting out a fire, you’re surrounded by the smoke, the smoke gets all over you. And you take that back to the station or you take that back to the campsite wherever you are and you’re out there for two weeks, you’re not showering, it’s going into your system, you’re breathing it,” said Joe Alioto Veronese, San Francisco Fire Commissioner.

    Another chemical they found was polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, commonly found in packaging and stain- and water-resistant fabrics.

    “It’s also used in firefighting foams for fire suppression activities. So that’s why we were interested in that particular chemical,” said UC Berkeley environmental health scientist Rachel Morello-Frosch, the principal investigator for the study.

    She also said they cannot be sure these elevated concentrations are due to the Tubbs Fire itself, as exposure can come from anywhere. “That’s one of the challenges when we measure chemicals in people’s bodies. We find the presence of the chemical, we can compare the levels, but those chemicals don’t necessarily leave a calling card and tell us where it came from,” she said.

    They all agreed that these firefighters need more protective equipment.

    According to Anthony Stefani, president of the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation and retired captain of the San Francisco Fire Department, the firefighters didn’t wear the same protective gear that they would normally wear in structural fires because they need to move quickly in wild-land fires.

    “You cannot do that with a 30, 40 pound tank of air on your back as well as 40 pounds of equipment on your pants and in a turnout jacket,” said Stefani.

    So far, those exposed to the high levels of chemicals do not show side effects, nor signs of cancer.

    Meanwhile they are looking into the available technology, decontamination policies, and funds to help pay for better equipment.

    SOurce : https://www.ntd.com/strong-correlation-between-tubbs-fire-firefighters-and-higher-chemical-exposure-study-shows_355098.html

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