EPA taking steps to reduce chemical approval backlog

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it has successfully slashed paperwork regarding chemical applications, reducing the number of pending submissions by approximately half following departmentwide implementation of procedural streamlining and prioritizing.

“We are committed to working with companies to gather all the relevant information early in the process, to inform safety reviews for new chemicals,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a release. “Reviewing new chemicals quickly will enable those deemed safe to enter the marketplace to support jobs and our economy.”

The EPA said its secret to success can be traced to organizational expertise. Department representatives pointed out that ways of grouping chemicals by type, for example, helped to simplify reviewers’ approach to the long list.

“EPA will continue to work with all stakeholders to identify additional changes to improve the quality, efficiency and transparency of the new chemical review program,” the EPA said in the release.

The improvement also evolved with the help of a law passed in June 2016, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, that essentially updated the way EPA would evaluate applications for chemical product authorization — specifically by mandating that the agency make an “affirmative finding” on, and respond to, the chemical’s risk potential  prior to approving it.

The EPA assesses approximately 1,000 new chemicals annually.


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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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