EPA Reopens Comment Period for Draft Revised Risk Determination for HBCD
(WASHINGTON, February 14, 2022) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing its intention to reopen the public comment period for the draft revision to the risk determination for the cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD) pursuant to section 6(b) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
HBCD is primarily used as an additive in building insulation, solder paste, recycled plastics, and automobile replacement parts. When final, the revised risk determination will better align with EPA’s human health and environmental protection objectives under the amended TSCA.
The current comment period will close today, February 14. On February 17, EPA will publish a Federal Register Notice to reopen the comment period for 15 days. Comments can be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0237 by March 3, 2022.
The draft revised risk determination finds that HBCD, as a whole-chemical substance, presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment when evaluated under its conditions of use. EPA is proposing to use the whole-chemical risk determination approach for HBCD due to:
- Benchmark exceedances for multiple conditions of use for both human health and the environment;
- The fact that HBCD is a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substance; and
- Irreversible health effects associated with HBCD exposures.
The majority of HBCD’s conditions of use drive the unreasonable risk determination. EPA believes that a whole-chemical approach better aligns with TSCA’s objective of protecting human health and the environment for this chemical substance. The draft revised risk determination proposes to supersede the initial risk determination and previously issued orders under TSCA section 6(i) for any conditions of use for which no unreasonable risks were found.
The draft revised risk determination also does not reflect an assumption that workers always appropriately wear personal protective equipment (PPE). EPA plans to consider information on use of PPE, or other ways industry protects its workers, as potential way(s) to address unreasonable risk during the risk management process.
By removing the assumption of PPE in the HBCD risk determination, the same six conditions of use would continue to drive the proposed unreasonable risk determination. However, the impact of removing the assumption of PPE use would cause the unreasonable risks for four of the six conditions of use that were driven by risks to the environment to also be driven by health risks to workers. EPA will use feedback received from the public comment process to inform the final revised risk determination.