Earlier this month, the Toxic Free Kids Act concluded its second review and revision of the two lists the Act created to identify chemicals that pose harmful risks to human health – specifically, pregnant women and children – and the environment.
Back in 2009, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed into law the Toxic Free Kids (TFK) Act (Minn. Stat. 2010 116.9401 – 116.9407). The Act called on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to build two lists of chemicals called “Chemicals of High Concern” and “Priority Chemicals.”
The purpose of the Chemicals of High Concern list is to identify chemicals which:
- May harm human health,
- May harm the environment,
- Are suspected carcinogens,
- Are reproductive or developmental toxicants,
- Are persistent bioaccumulative toxins (e.g. lead and mercury), and/or
- Are considered High Production Volume chemicals.
Minnesota published the first Chemicals of High Concern list in 2010 using the Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP) as a resource for information on chemical toxicity.
The state reviewed and updated the list in 2013; the TFK Act stipulates that MDH must publish an updated version of the Chemicals of High Concern list once every three years at a minimum. This first update included the addition of 32 chemicals and the removal of 57, leaving the list at 1,731 chemicals (down from 1,756) with 260 chemicals flagged for review. This time, MN relied upon the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment Program, which provides information on chemical toxicity, rather than ChAMP.
During this first round of updates, the Priority Chemicals list went unchanged. However, one chemical and a chemical group were flagged for review. These are the flame-retardant chemical Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate, otherwise called TDCPP, and the group Nonylphenols, which are used in manufacturing antioxidants, lubricating oil additives, dish and laundry detergents, emulsifiers, and solubilizers.
The second update, and the third published Chemicals of High Concern list, was recently released on September 7, 2016. The list can be viewed here, and MDH also provides a report describing the process for reviewing and revising the list and outlines future goals.