Welcome to the Department of Toxic Substances Control

Emerging Chemicals of Concern

Emerging Chemicals of Concern

The U.S. currently has more than 85,000 chemicals in commerce.  There are approximately 2,500 “high production volume” (HPV) chemicals, which are manufactured at a rate of more than one million pounds annually, with nearly 45 percent of these HPV chemicals lacking adequate toxicological studies conducted to evaluate their health effects on humans and wildlife.  Further, about 2,000 new chemicals are introduced into commerce annually in the U.S., at a rate of seven new chemicals a day.

Because of the many chemicals in commerce, the improved methods for detecting chemicals in environmental and biological media, and the increased interest by scientists and the public in understanding the types of toxicity that chemicals may pose, more and more scientists and toxicologists are identifying “emerging chemicals of concern,” or ECCs.   Recent studies have shown that some of these chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors, disrupting normal hormone function, and can produce effects at the parts per billion or parts per trillion level.  Also, effects of some ECCs can be transgenerational - when animals are exposed in utero, effects are transmitted not only to the offspring, but are inherited for many generations thereafter, from exposures to the grandmother or the great-grandmother animal.  In addition, scientists are worried about the effects from exposures to mixtures of these ECCs and/or other chemicals.

ECCs reflect limitations in the chemicals regulatory systems at the state, national, and international level.  ECCs are chemicals that have appeared on the radar screen because scientists have discovered that these chemicals have some new toxicity, are found to be building up in the environment, or are being detected in humans or other living organisms, and may have the potential to cause adverse effects on public health or the environment. 

Some examples of ECCs include bis-phenol-A, phthalates, arsenic, perchlorate, nonylphenols, synthetic musks and other personal care product ingredients, nitrosodimethylamine, brominated flame retardants, nanoparticles, pharmaceutical wastes, and industrial chemical additives, stabilizers and adjuvants.

Related Links

California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA):

CalEPA PBDE Workgroup Report

California Air Resources Board PBDE Program

California DTSC Bioaccumulation of Environmental Pollutants in Human Tissues Bibliography

of California:

University of California Special Report to the Legislature, “Green Chemistry in California

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA):

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA report on PFOA Stewardship Program

Non-Profit Organizations:

National Resources Defense Council

Environmental Working Group

Environment California

Childrens Environmental Health

Pesticide Reduction

Body Burden Web Links

Government resources

Cancer Information Service

European Union Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH)

National Cancer Institute

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Plastics and the Microwave (U.S. Food and Drug Administration report)

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. CDC's National Center for Environmental Health

U.S. CDC's Biomonitoring Program (National Health and Nutrition Examination Study)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

U.S. FDA's Total Diet Study

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Assessment of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

World Health Organization Children's Environmental Health


Chemical body burden

Children's Health Environmental Coalition

Collaborative on Health and the Environment


Daily updates summarizing media coverage of environment and health issues

Environmental Working Group

Environmental Working Group: PBDEs

Environmental Working Group: PFOS

Natural Resources Defense Council

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) overview from Environment California

Science and Environmental Health Network

Silent Spring Institute

Women's Environmental Network



American Chemistry Council

Bisphenol-A Website

Bromine Science and Environmental Forum


International Council of Chemical Associations

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) facts

Phthalate Information Center (USA)

Phthalate Information Center (Europe)

Plastics and health information (American Chemistry Council)

Teflon information (DuPont)


Other Body Burden questionnaires/virtual tours

Children's Health Environmental Coalition quiz and tour

Environmental Working Group The Environment:BodyBurden

The Teflon world

Scientific reports

DDT fact sheet

European Union's hazard assessment of Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and its salts

Mercury levels in women and children (Journal of the American Medical Association)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's risk assessment of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

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