Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Maine releases list of “chemicals of high concern

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Source: Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP), working with theMaine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MCDC), recently published a list of“Chemicals of High Concern,” which includes approximately 1,700 chemical entries. Maine’slaw on Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products mandated creation of the list. According to theMDEP website, a chemical is included on the list only if it is identified “by an authoritativegovernmental entity on the basis of credible scientific evidence as being known as”: (a) acarcinogen, a reproductive or developmental toxicant, or an endocrine disruptor; (b) persistent,bioaccumulative, and toxic; or (c) very persistent and very bioaccumulative. More informationis available at http://www.maine.gov/dep/oc/safechem/highconcern/index.htm.

Under the statute, MDEP is required to review the list at least every three years.MDEP may also further periodically review and revise the list. According to MDEP, it intendsto review the list annually and update it as appropriate in consultation with the MCDC. Thedefinition of “Chemicals of High Concern” does not consider whether a chemical is in achildren’s product or exempted under other sections of the statute. MDEP notes that chemicalsmay be listed that cannot be considered for subsequent action, “such as priority chemicaldisclosure or a sales prohibition.” Some of the exemptions that apply to other parts of thestatute, but not to the definition of Chemicals of High Concern, include:

  • A food or beverage, or an additive to a food or beverage;
  • A container or packaging for a food or beverage, unless that product is intentionally marketed or intended for the use of children under three years of age;
  • A tobacco product;
  • A paper or forest product;
  • A pesticide regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency; and
  • A drug or biologic regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Inclusion on the list does not restrict use of the chemical in commerce in Maine.According to MDEP, the list “identifies chemicals that [MDEP] and [MCDC] will look at tofurther determine at least two priority chemicals by” January 1, 2011. MDEP states that it hasthe authority to remove a chemical from the list, “if it finds that the chemical is not used in achildren’s product, and therefore is not subject to regulation under Toxic Chemicals inChildren’s Products. This is an optional authority that the department is not choosing to exerciseat this time.”

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