EPA Issues Final Risk Evaluation for 1,4-Dioxane

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final risk evaluation for the chemical 1,4-Dioxane in December 2020 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (workers nearby the chemical but not in direct contact with it) from 13 commercial uses of 1,4-dioxane through short- and long-term inhalation and skin exposure. The chemical is used in the manufacture of other chemicals, as a processing aid, in laboratory chemicals, and in adhesives and sealants.

The agency said it is working through the TSCA process to address the unreasonable risks, and in the meantime, it suggested that workers reduce exposure by following all instructions on the label of chemical products containing 1,4-dioxane. This could include using the product only with adequate ventilation; moving to fresh air if a worker feels ill and to contact their physician; following applicable workplace regulations and using personal protective equipment properly.

The next step the TSCA requires is for EPA to engage in risk management for 1,4 dioxane by proposing regulations and finalizing them within two years of this final risk evaluation. EPA’s proposed actions will require public input, and USW members can stay informed by signing up for EPA’s email alerts or checking the public docket for 1,4-dioxane at www.regulations.gov.

Local 12517-05, which represents workers at Solvay’s Baltimore, Md., location reported in 2019 that 1,4-dioxane is at the site.

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