Chemicals, EHS Administration

DINP Proposed as Future TRI Chemical

In August 2022, the EPA issued a proposed rule to add a Di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) category to the list of toxic chemicals subject to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA).

DINP is commonly found in toys, fabric coatings, and flooring, and it’s added to plastics and rubber to provide softness and flexibility to final products.

The proposed regulation was issued 20 years after the EPA received a petition from the Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) (now called Toxic-Free Future) requesting that the EPA add DINP to the TRI chemical list. The group contended that DINP causes cancer, systemic toxicity, developmental toxicity, and endocrine disruption and therefore should be added to the TRI chemical list.

After a review of the available data, the EPA proposed a rule to add DINP as a category to the EPCRA Section 313 list based on DINP’s carcinogenicity and liver, kidney, and developmental toxicity. In May 2022, the EPA agreed, through a consent decree, to finalize a rule adding DINP to the ECPRA chemical list in 2023.

If finalized, the rule will require facilities that manufacture or process more than 25,000 pounds (lb) of DINP-category chemicals per year or otherwise use more than 10,000 lb of DINP-category chemicals annually to report certain information in TRI reports. The data to be submitted includes quantities of DINP-category chemicals that were released into the environment or otherwise managed as waste.

TRI data is made available to the public to provide information about chemicals being used in different regions, the management of those chemicals, and whether those chemicals are released into the environment.

The Agency also released an updated hazard assessment, which proposes that DINP chemicals can reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer and serious or irreversible chronic health effects in humans—specifically, developmental effects, kidney toxicity, and liver toxicity.

“Patricia Taylor, former director of the Plastics and Waste Reduction Project at Environment and Human Health, Inc., called this a ‘possible sea change’ for federal chemical management,” reports Environmental Health News. “[T]he ruling covers a class of chemicals, rather than a specific one – suggesting the EPA is ‘inching towards’ policies that regulate chemicals by class. ‘This is something being strongly recommended by independent scientists who research chemicals such as phthalates, bisphenols and other endocrine disruptors used to make plastics,’” she said. “Such restrictions by class would prevent some of the ‘regrettable substitutions’ – many compounds used in ‘BPA-free’ products are just as harmful as BPA, for instance – which are now standard practice by industries when faced with information that a chemical in their product is harmful to health or the environment.”

Comments on the proposed rule can be made under Docket #: EPA–HQ–TRI–2022–0262 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal through October 7, 2022.