By Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Like many things in life, the way we work to ensure chemical safety is a process. I’m proud to say we’ve taken some big steps in that process over the past several weeks by issuing our first two final risk evaluations for methylene chloride and 1-bromopropane. Now we’re taking the next step in the process by moving to risk management. This is where we develop a plan to protect public health from the unreasonable risks we found in our final risk evaluations.
What can you expect from us as we take this next step? You can expect transparent, proactive, and meaningful education, outreach, and engagement with our many stakeholders. We need your input, expertise, and feedback now, early in the process, to help shape the ways we’re going to address the unreasonable risks we’ve found.
This will include public webinars as well as one-on-one meetings with stakeholders. In fact, we’re working to schedule our first two public webinars for September and expect to announce the details soon. We’ll also be holding formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, environmental justice communities, and small businesses.
We’ll be using these different opportunities to educate the public and our stakeholders on what we found in our final risk evaluations, the risk management process required by TSCA, which options are available to us for managing unreasonable risk, and what that means for all of you moving forward. We’ll also be seeking input on potential risk management approaches, their effectiveness, and any impacts those approaches might have on businesses.
We all have a shared purpose in this effort – to protect workers and consumers from any unreasonable risks while ensuring businesses continue to grow and thrive.
That’s why we’re embarking upon this outreach effort. We want workable solutions that protect the health of people who work with and use chemicals every day. We need to know about how any potential risk management approaches could impact business operations, in both positive and negative ways. Then we can use that feedback to develop proposed regulations that are both protective and practical.
There are several actions we can take to address the unreasonable risks we’ve found including banning or phasing out certain uses of a chemical, requiring warning labels and other special instructions on how a chemical can be used, recordkeeping/testing, and requiring manufacturers to notify distributors of any unreasonable risks.
I’d like to encourage all of you to take advantage of these engagement opportunities as they come up. Your feedback is an integral part of the work we do. We’re relying on you to ask questions, raise concerns, bring things to our attention that we may not have considered, and to provide us with information we may not already have. I assure you, we will be listening to you as we all work together to advance chemical safety.
More information on our risk management process and opportunities for engagement will be posted at https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/current-chemical-risk-management-activities. We’ll also be improving this page and others to make sure points of contact and other key information is easy to find.
About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.