The Environmental Pr w0021 ----- r a BC-04/21/83-TRIANG01 04-21 0001 THE FEDERAL TRIANGLE EPA Launches Accelerated Cancer Probe

The Environmental Protection Agency has launched an accelerated review of a potentially cancer-causing chemical, using a provision of the seven-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TOSCA) for the first time.

The chemical, called 4,4-methylenedianiline (MDA), is used to manufacture other chemicals and products. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 2,500 workers may be exposed to MDA in the work place. An EPA statement yesterday said there is "little concern about exposure apart from the work place."

A section of TOSCA permits the EPA to initiate an accelerated review of a hazardous substance within 180 days of getting test data indicating that it poses a threat of cancer, gene mutations or birth defects. The EPA declined to use the section last year to act against formaldehyde.

In the case of MDA, the EPA received preliminary information last June that it had caused cancer in laboratory animals.

Don Clay, acting administrator for toxic substances, said the agency decided to accelerate its review after EPA scientists reviewed the final toxicology data along with a study on worker exposure that was completed early this year.

If the agency decides to regulate MDA, it must issue a rule with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which governs work-place hazards.