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January 4, 2010

Industry Calls on Congress for Chemical Prioritization

The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA), Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) recently testified in a hearing, “Prioritizing Chemicals for Safety Determination,” before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Representing the industry groups was Bill Greggs, an associate director in Procter & Gamble’s Global Sustainability organization who presented a model the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could use to help prioritize existing chemicals in commerce in a logical and efficient manner.

Developing a priority-setting process is a crucial element in achieving the global gold standard for chemicals management policy through modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, which provides the EPA with the regulatory authority over chemicals in commerce, according to the associations.

Given the more than three decades of scientific and technological advancements since TSCA was enacted, the industry groups say the statute is in need of a significant makeover.

“We are pleased that the subcommittee is examining this issue and considering potential changes to TSCA that will help restore public confidence in the U.S. chemicals management system,” said the groups in a statement to the press.

The industry is proposing a risk-based model that EPA can use to review and assess existing chemicals in commerce and that takes into consideration both a chemical’s hazards and potential exposures. Chemicals identified as high priorities should be those substances with both the highest hazards and the highest potential exposures.

“A single factor, whether based on hazards or potential exposures, is not sufficient for a chemical to be deemed as a high priority chemical,” said the group.“This will result in everything being a priority, and if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.”

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EWG Report Could Discourage Beneficial Cleaning, Says SDA, CSPA

The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) and The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) are reviewing a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that suggests adverse health effects from the use of cleaning and maintenance products in schools.

According to the CSPA and SDA, companies named in the report are responsible companies and practice sound science in the development and design of their products that help create clean and healthy school environments. Safety is a vital ingredient in product development and performance.

“We are concerned about the report’s claims that the ability to measure the presence of chemicals associated with these products equates with safety.It does not.More importantly, the report ignores the health benefits from the use of these products,” said the two industry associations. “Everyday use of these products and their ingredients is not leading to adverse health effects or disease in our schools. Claiming adverse effects without considering real-world exposures to these products is irresponsible.”

According to the CSPA and SDA, both groups will continue to analyze this report and review its findings, test methods used and conclusions.

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ADA Petitions FDA To Classify Tooth-Whiteners

The American Dental Association (ADA) has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish appropriate classifications for tooth-whitening chemicals.

Citing concern about the safety of whitening products that are often administered without the benefit of professional consultation or examination by a dentist, the ADA said that the application of chemically-based tooth whitening or bleaching agents can harm teeth, gums and other tissues in the mouth. The ADA pointed out that such concerns have prompted many states to prevent application of tooth whitening products in non-dental settings.

“The tremendous expansion of products available directly to consumers and application of products in venues such as shopping malls, cruise ships, and salons is troubling since consumers have little or no assurance regarding the safety of product ingredients, doses or the professional qualifications of individuals employed in these non-dental settings,” said ADA president Dr. Ron Tankersley and executive director Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin, in a letter to the agency. “Application of whitening/bleaching materials is not risk-free and may not be appropriate for all dark or discolored teeth.”

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