EPA adds 22 chemicals to list of safer chemical ingredients

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on August 11, 2022 that it is updating the Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL), “a living list of chemicals by functional use class that the EPA’s Safer Choice program has evaluated and determined meets the Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL) Standard of Choice The EPA has added 22 chemicals to the SCIL The EPA states that to increase the number of chemicals and functional use categories on the SCIL, it encourages manufacturers to submit their safer chemicals for review and listing on the SCIL.In support of Biden administration goals, the addition of chemicals to the SCIL “promotes more innovation in safer chemistry, which can promote environmental justice, build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and improve water quality.” According to the EPA, SCIL chemicals “are among the safest for their functional use”.

The EPA also changed a chemical’s status on the SCIL and will remove the chemical from the list in one year “due to a growing understanding of potential health and environmental effects.” According to the EPA, the chemical was originally listed on the SCIL based on data from a closely related substance that the EPA marked with a gray square earlier this year. The EPA’s process for removing a chemical from the SCIL is to first mark the chemical with a gray square on the SCIL web page to notify chemical and product manufacturers that the chemical may no longer be acceptable for use in Safer Choice certified products. A gray square notation on the SCIL means that the use of the chemical may not be permitted in products that are candidates for the Safer Choice label, and all currently Safer Choice-certified products that contain that chemical must be reformulated unless relevant health and safety data is provided to justify the continued listing of the chemical on the SCIL. The EPA says the required data is determined on a case-by-case basis. In general, the data relevant to making such a determination provide evidence of low concern for human health and environmental impacts. Unless the information provided to EPA adequately supports continued listing, then EPA removes the chemical from the SCIL 12 months after the gray square designation.

According to the EPA, after this update there will be 1,055 chemicals listed on the SCIL. The EPA is committed to regularly updating the SCIL with safer chemicals. The EPA states that the SCIL is a resource that can help many different stakeholders:

  • Product manufacturers use SCIL to help manufacture highly functional products with safer ingredients;

  • Chemical manufacturers use the SCIL to promote the safer chemicals they manufacture;

  • Retailers use the SCIL to help shape their sustainability programs; and

  • Environmental and health advocates use the SCIL to support their work with industry to encourage the use of the safest chemistry possible.

The EPA’s Safer Choice program certifies products with ingredients that meet the program’s rigorous human health and environmental safety criteria. The Safer Choice program allows companies to use its label on products that meet the Safer Choice standard. The EPA website has a complete list of Safer Choice certified products.

©2022 Bergeson & Campbell, CPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 223