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Toxics

EPA STUDIES COULD SPARK NEW RISK LEVELS FOR ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS

Three new EPA-funded animal studies examining the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals at extremely low doses could fine-tune agency risk levels for the controversial substances, environmentalist and agency sources say. The current risk levels were set by making extrapolations from high-dose effects.

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NAS PANEL FORMALIZES PLAN TO REVIEW DRAFT EPA STUDY OF TCE RISKS

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has formalized its plan to review EPA's controversial draft risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent found at numerous defense and industrial facilities nationwide, after EPA's draft assessment found the chemical is significantly more toxic than prior agency estimates.

Federal and industry officials are looking to use the review to justify efforts to weaken the agency's 2001 risk estimate, which they say would impose significant new cleanup liability.

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DHS Chemical Security Review May Undercut EPA Assessment

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will use a new method for assessing the risks from a potential attack on the nation's chemical plants, which Bush administration and industry officials say will undercut EPA projections that 123 chemical plants could each threaten one million people or more.

"The idea is to give a much more realistic scenario, instead of exaggerations that groups use to try to scare the public," one industry official says.

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EPA Report Lacks Clear Alternative To Banned Flame Retardant

Members of an EPA workgroup examining alternatives to a recently-banned furniture flame retardant say no clear replacement has emerged in more than a year and a half of consultations.

The Furniture Flame Retardancy Partnership (FFRP) is charged with considering alternatives to the once widely-used penta-brominated diphenyl ether (penta), which EPA forced out of production this year and several states have banned due to health and environmental concerns.

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NAS Perchlorate Report Leaves Key Regulatory Issues Unaddressed

Despite finding EPA's risk estimate of perchlorate is overly strict, the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) long-awaited report on the chemical may not result in a significant weakening of EPA's cleanup standard because the agency must still consider key policy questions that the NAS did not address.

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California Lawmakers Poised To Take Up Key Chemical Regulatory Issues

With a highly anticipated academic report examining and recommending changes to California's chemical regulatory framework due next month, sources predict the state Legislature will consider key proposals for chemical policy and regulatory reform this year.

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High Court Justices Express Skepticism Over FIFRA Preemption Claims

During oral arguments in Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, Supreme Court justices appeared to express skepticism that federal pesticide law preempts all litigation under state law seeking damages that occurred from use of an allegedly mislabeled pesticide.

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GROUP CHARGES HEINZ KETCHUP VIOLATES PROP. 65 CADMIUM WARNING RULES

A Los Angeles-area legal outfit claims in a new Proposition 65 notice to sue that the H.J. Heinz Co. is violating the toxics labeling law because it does not warn consumers that its ketchup contains cadmium. The notice marks only the second cadmium-related Prop. 65 notice since 2002. An attorney said that a similar notice may be forthcoming with regard to the vitamin drink V8, which is made by the Campbell Soup Co.

A Heinz Co. spokeswoman said the company had not yet received the notice and therefore could not comment.

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LOCKYER JOINS MULTI-STATE PETITION ON EPA PESTICIDE RESIDUE LEVELS

Attorney General (AG) Bill Lockyer has joined a multi-state petition alleging that U.S. EPA's acceptable pesticide residue levels for five chemicals are inadequate to protect the health of children. Lockyer charges that EPA's residue levels for the pesticides are further evidence of the Bush Administration's antipathy toward environmental and public health regulations.

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LAWMAKERS POISED TO TAKE UP KEY CHEMICAL POLICY, REGULATORY ISSUES

With a highly anticipated academic report examining and recommending changes to the state's chemical regulatory framework due next month, sources predict the Legislature will consider key proposals for chemical policy and regulatory reform this year. Activists plan a broad chemical policy strategy meeting in the next few months, a leading lawmaker may hold a hearing on chemical policy, and bills favoring a more precautionary approach to regulation will likely be introduced this year, with some proposals that failed to pass last year expected to be reintroduced.

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