Enviro Chiefs Advance Cooperation on Chemicals

To strengthen the assessment and management of chemicals in North America, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts have signed a statement of intent on North American chemicals cooperation.

The statement affirms the commitments made by President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America's Leaders' Summit in Montebello, Quebec, in August 2007.

"Chemicals are used every day in all types of settings -- from science labs to our homes," said Johnson. "The more EPA and our international colleagues know about the chemicals we use today, the more we can ensure a healthier, safer tomorrow."

To date, the United States and Canada have completed and made public screening assessments on hundreds of chemicals. Mexico has made progress in the design and development of its chemicals inventory. Under this cooperative effort, the United States committed, by 2012, to assess and initiate action, as needed, on more than 6,750 chemicals produced above 25,000 pounds a year.

So far, the agency has posted assessments under its Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP) on more than 150 high-production-volume chemicals -- those manufactured or imported above 1 million pounds a year -- and initiated follow-up action on several. EPA also recently began posting assessments on moderate-volume chemicals, which are manufactured or imported at a level between 25,000 and 1 million pounds a year.

EPA expects to accelerate the pace of the ChAMP assessments in 2009 and beyond. By sharing expertise and resources and setting priorities among the three countries, EPA anticipates stronger protection for public health and the environment in North America.