Diversified Industrials

Performance Chemistries Weekly Roundup – 2.18.21

FTI Consulting’s Performance Chemistries Working Group actively tracks developments on performance chemistries related to regulation, litigation, and corporate reputation. Currently, our focus is on high-interest chemicals, including: ethylene oxide (EtO); 1,4-dioxane; phthalates; trichloroethylene (TCE); perchloroethylene (PERC); per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS); and formaldehyde.

Trichloroethylene (TCE):

  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued an assessment stating that the EPA should “make changes” to how it manages the systematic review process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), according to E&E News. While the report acknowledges that the agency faced tight deadlines in completing the first 10 risk evaluations mandated under TSCA, the report concluded that the review process has “not been comprehensive,” specifically citing the EPA’s risk evaluation for TCE.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS):

  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) sent a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, urging the new administration to move forward with regulating PFOA and PFOS under the Safe Drinking Water Act. In the letter, Capito asserts: “This final regulatory determination was a vital step toward ensuring the protection of public health across the nation, as well as to my constituents specifically.”
  • Minnesota unveiled their “PFAS Blueprint” plan last week, which calls for the state to enact stronger PFAS regulations, including designating PFAS as “hazardous substances” under Minnesota’s Superfund law, according to the Associated Press. The plan also calls for an additional $3 million in state funding over the next two years to help researchers “identify sources of PFAS in the environment.”
  • Three new federally financed studies led by the University of Arizona are planning to examine alleged links between PFAS exposure and increased risks associated with COVID-19, as reported by Tuscon.com. The studies will focus on firefighters, first responders and other essential workers; the research is being funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry, and the National Institute for Environmental Health.
  • The Guardian published a story outlining concerns that new mothers can “pass” the presence of PFAS to their infants through breastmilk, interviewing mothers who live in Hoosick Falls, New York; Gustavus, Alaska; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The piece cites studies that claim that PFOA and PFOS exposure cause “short- and long-term health problems in infants, often affecting their weight and their immune system.”

Formaldehyde:

  • A new study from researchers at the University of California, Riverside claims that prolonged exposure to gases emitted from cars during regular commutes could expose drivers to formaldehyde, in addition to benzene, DEHP, DBP, and TDCIPP. The study found that commute times of more than 20 minutes saw exposure levels that surpassed the “maximum allowable daily level” based on standards set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), according to The Hill.

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