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EPA Rejects Petition to Require Testing of Brominated Flame Retardant, Will Re-examine Emissions Standards for Cars

The EPA has rejected a petition filed by various consumer and environmental groups under section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act that would have required testing to be conducted by manufacturers (including importers) and processors of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA). This chemical has the highest production volume of any brominated frame retardant and is extensively used in consumer products, including children’s products.

While the EPA agreed with the petitioners that the manufacture, distribution in commerce, processing, use or disposal of TBBPA may present  an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under TSCA section 4(a)(1)(A), it determined that the petitioners did not demonstrate, for each exposure pathway and hazard endpoint presented in the petition, that the existing information and experience available to the EPA are insufficient to reasonably determine or predict the effects on health or the environment from manufacture, distribution in commerce, processing, use or disposal of TBBPA (or any combination of such activities), nor that the specific testing they identified is necessary to develop such information.

Separately, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation have announced their intention to re-examine a rule issued by the Obama administration that finalised standards to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty lorries by model year 2025. The EPA must determine by 1 April 2018 whether these standards, which have been described by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as “costly for automakers and the American people,” are appropriate and seek public comment if it believes the final determination issued by the previous administration is not realistic.

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