The EPA has announced their proposed criteria for expanding their list of chemicals of concern that require action to reduce exposure. Check out the chemicals below for a guide to the known concerns and major uses of each chemical.

Benzidine Dyes
  • Known Concerns*: Cancer; PBTs**
  • Higher Risk Populations: Babies and children; Workers
  • Major Uses: Dyes
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Clothing, textiles, footwear, leather products, paper, ink
Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Known Concerns: Harm to reproduction; harm to brain and behavioral changes; pervasive human and environmental exposure
  • Higher Risk Populations: Developing fetuses, infants, and children; aquatic organisms
  • Major Uses: Polycarbonate plastic, epoxy resins, thermal paper, flame retardant
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Reusable food and drink containers, canned foods, cash receipts, circuit boards
Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
  • Known Concerns: High aquatic toxicity; harm to reproduction, development, and nervous system; PBTs
  • Higher Risk Populations: Aquatic life; developing fetuses, infants, and children; workers
  • Major Uses: Flame retardant for polystyrene foam boards
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Thermal insulation boards
Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI)
  • Known Concerns: Asthma; lung damage; skin irritation; harm to immune system; chemical sensitivity
  • Higher Risk Populations: Workers; do-it-yourself consumers; self-employed
  • Major Uses: Polyurethane foams and resins
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Spray foam insulation, coatings, sealants and adhesives
Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI)
  • Known Concerns: Asthma; lung damage; skin irritation; harm to immune system; chemical sensitivity
  • Higher Risk Populations: Workers; do-it-yourself consumers; self-employed
  • Major Uses: Polyurethane foams and resins
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Floor coatings; sealants and adhesives
Nonylphenol(NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs)
  • Known Concerns: Extreme aquatic toxicity; skin and eye irritation; harm to reproduction and development; PBTs
  • Higher Risk Populations: Fish, aquatic invertebrates, and aquatic plants; developing fetuses, infants, and children
  • Major Uses: Surfactants
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Industrial laundry detergents; cleaners; indoor pesticides; food packaging; cosmetics
Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs)
  • Known Concerns: Harm to reproduction and development; PBTs
  • Higher Risk Populations: Developing fetuses, infants, and children
  • Major Uses: Coatings that resist oil, stains, grease, and water; fire resistance; surfactant
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Fabric treatment: furniture, clothing, carpets, and footwear; food packaging; non-stick cookware
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
  • Known Concerns: Harm to the brain; behavioral changes; ecotoxicity; PBTs
  • Higher Risk Populations: Developing fetuses, infants, and children; wildlife
  • Major Uses: Flame retardant for plastics, foams, and fibers
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Plastics in electronic equipment and appliances; wiring and cables; foam cushions in couches, chairs, and vehicle seats; carpets and drapes
Phthalates
  • Known Concerns: Harm to reproduction and development; pervasive human and environmental exposure
  • Higher Risk Populations: Developing fetuses, infants, and children
  • Major Uses: Added to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: Flexible PVC plastic products, including shower curtains, bags, vinyl flooring, office supplies; medical IV tubing and blood bags
Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs)
  • Known Concerns: Aquatic toxicity; skin and eye irritation; harm to liver, thyroid, and kidneys; cancer (suspected); PBTs
  • Higher Risk Populations: Aquatic organisms; workers
  • Major Uses: Lubricant and coolant for metal cutting and forming; plasticizer and flame retardant
  • Some Consumer Product Uses: PVC plastic products; rubber, paints, coatings, sealants, and adhesives

*Known concerns are those that have been identified from either animal or human studies.

**PBTs are chemicals that are Persistent (long-lived in the environment), Bioaccumulative (building up to high levels in the food chain), and Toxic (harmful to life).

U.S. EPA has issued Chemical Action Plans for these ten Chemicals of Concern. To access the Chemical Action Plans for each chemical, along with scientific and technical references, visit the EPA’s Existing Chemical Action Plan.