Image credit:USEPA/Formaldehyde Council.
USEPA has decided that when a chemical company encounters new information about the toxicity of a chemical product, that they must make public the name of that product. It used to be that they could check a box and claim "business confidential information" or "CBI." Pretty much every company did it and as a result there was really no way for the public to see if any new hazards had emerged. Read on for a current example of how this change in policy opens up information.As the EPA release states:
The chemicals that will be affected by this action are those that are submitted to EPA with studies that show a substantial risk to people's health and the environment and have been previously disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory.
Go read the formal EPA policy statement here.
Here's an example of what's now accessible to the public.
If you visit the link New TSCA 8(e) and FYI Submissions-- most recent monthly report you'll be able to scroll down and over to the right on a table like this one, for November 2009 reports.
Looking around you'll see a row for "formaldehyde" - submitted by the "Formaldehyde Council." (pdf file). A small excerpt from that document is presented above, as the graphic for this post.
There's also a way to search for new tox information based on chemical name. Now that's seriously interesting!