U.S. regulators have asked companies that manufacture and distribute toxic chemicals for the first time to submit information about the safety of the chemicals they are manufacturing.
The Federal Labor Department said in a letter Monday that a majority of the companies have been asked to submit a detailed safety assessment, a request that could help determine whether their facilities are safe for people to work at.
The letter comes amid reports that some U.K. and Australian plants have been found to contain harmful chemicals that can affect people’s health, including a recent case in which a worker was exposed to chemicals that are banned in the U.N. Chemical Safety Board’s guidelines.
U.S.-based chemicals are typically used in a variety of industrial processes, including manufacturing, manufacturing-related occupations and cleaning and maintenance, among others.
The industry-backed National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have both said they have not been given specific information about whether their chemicals are safe to use.
A separate letter to the U,U.K., Australia, Germany and Germany states that the companies are required to submit their chemical safety assessments within 180 days of the date the information was provided to them by the Federal Labor Secretary’s office.
The agencies have asked the companies to identify how much toxic substances are used in their processes, the amount of toxic substances they have stored and the extent to which they are tested and released into the environment, the letter said.
The companies are also asked to identify any significant gaps in the information they have provided and provide any information that would allow the Secretary of Labor to determine the safety profile of the chemical they use.
The federal agencies have also asked the firms to provide information on how they are testing and releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, and to identify other factors that could affect the level of a chemical’s toxicity, the letters said.
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