Chemicals to be phased out of new US chemical-free products

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce Friday that it will phase out the use of nearly 50 chemicals that have been linked to respiratory ailments in children, such as breathing problems and asthma.

The agency said in a statement Friday that more than 100 chemicals were “considered likely” to be contributing to the increasing prevalence of asthma, including some used in baby formula.

“While the agency cannot eliminate all of these chemicals entirely, we are working to make the transition as simple as possible to ensure children do not experience the harms associated with these products,” the agency said.

A chemical used to make baby formula is a common ingredient.

Some chemicals are not listed as safe by the EPA, but the agency has been trying to make sure those are included.

The agency said it was doing this through the Clean Water Act, a set of rules that allows it to stop pollutants from flowing into waterways if they pose a health risk to humans.

The chemicals include chlorhexidine, a chemical commonly used in cosmetics, to treat blemishes; methylchloroisothiazolinone, a preservative used in a range of products including cosmetics; triclosan, a drug used to remove dirt from paint; and 2-methylcyclohexanol, which is used to clean toilets and deter stains.

The agency has previously announced that it was taking action on the use, manufacturing and distribution of several chemicals linked to allergies and asthma, among other issues.

In the wake of the EPA’s announcement, the American Chemistry Council, the nation’s largest chemical industry trade group, said it would continue to urge the agency to take action.

“We have long warned that the EPA needs to act quickly to protect children from the harmful chemicals and toxins found in baby products and toys,” said ATC CEO John D. Kornblum in a written statement.

He said the council was committed to working with the EPA to find an appropriate solution for the chemical-based products and to encourage other chemical manufacturers to take similar steps.

More:The chemical companies involved in the proposed phased-out plans include:Cargill, maker of the popular organic beef jerky and the popular grain-free cheese; United Foods Group, maker (and parent company) of cereal, granola and yogurt; and General Mills, maker and producer of peanut butter and jelly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.