Chemicals pronounced “dangerous” by European Union are being mass produced in U.S.

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Student Researchers:  Annie Sexton, Gwendolyn Brack, Hallie Fischer, Bernadette Gorman, Paige Henderson, Daryl Mowrey, Taylor Prodromos

Faculty Instructor:  Kevin Howley, Ph.D.; Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre

Evaluator: Jeanette Pope, Professor of Geology, DePauw University


Many chemicals that have already been claimed as “substances of high concern,” are being mass produced in the United States.  The European Union’s 2007 law, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) currently recognizes 16 chemicals that are of high concern to human health, as well as 267 high risk chemicals to potentially be added to the list.  The E.U.’s research and use of the REACH law are increasingly pointing to problems in the United States’ 32 year-old Toxic Substances Control Act. Of the substances, the United States currently produces approximately 85, at least 14 of them in excess, in 37 states including Kentucky, Louisiana, New York and Texas.  Substances such as phthalates (plastic softeners), which mimic hormones and are thus related to reproductive and developmental problems, are being produced in the U.S. in quantities of hundreds of million pounds annually.

Only one-third of the toxins on the REACH list have been tested under the TSCA, and only two of them have been the subject of any sort of regulation in the U.S.


“European Chemical Clampdown Reaches Across Atlantic.” David Biello. Scientific American. 30 Sept 2008.


“How Europe’s New Chemical Rules Affect U.S.” Environmental Defense Fund. 30 Sept 2008.