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Press Release

EPA Denies Center for Biological Diversity’s Petition to List Discarded PVC as a Hazardous Waste

By Heather Lynch, MPH, DABT, Principal, Toxicology, Health, and Ecological Science

On April 26, 2024, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its denial of the 2014 rulemaking petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list discarded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  

PVC, a durable and widely used synthetic plastic polymer, presents potential environmental challenges throughout the product life cycle. CBD’s petition, initiated a decade ago, raised concerns regarding chemical leaching from PVC in waste, but largely focused on exposures during product use. CBD urged EPA to revise waste management guidelines to mitigate health and environmental risks from improperly disposed PVC. 

EPA found that the current evidence does not justify a change in its regulatory status, stating that the petition and public comments did not provide “sufficient information of a potential hazard to human health or the environment.” EPA highlighted the failure of the petitioner or public commenters to provide analysis of the potential for constituents or degradation products to migrate from discarded PVC into the environment under the specific conditions of a landfill or other waste management scenarios. Moreover, there was no attempt to estimate exposures to humans or quantify potential risks to human health or the environment. The final decision, rendered after extensive deliberation and commentary, underscores a crucial point: the need for robust scientific data and comprehensive risk assessments to support regulatory changes.  

For the full scope of this decision, read EPA’s response and decision here: 

Key Contact

Ms. Lynch is a Principal and board-certified toxicologist with 15 years of experience in toxicology and human health risk assessment.... Full bio

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