Chemicals already in commerce (“existing” chemicals) and produced in the highest volumes — so-called High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals — have been identified by governments, industry and environmental advocacy groups for higher-priority chemical testing.
These chemicals, generally produced in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year — although the definitions differ between the US and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — are thought to have a higher potential for human or environmental exposure due to their high production volumes.
While production volume alone is not always an accurate indicator of exposure, it can be a useful tool for prioritizing chemicals for additional testing.
Because many HPV chemicals were already in use when the chemical control regulations were enacted, they were “grandfathered,” not subject to the same regulatory review as “new” chemicals.
Recognizing the need to coordinate testing across the industry and various governments, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) devised a voluntary testing program to accelerate the collection of a standard base set of toxicology and environmental fate information on these HPV chemicals.
In addition, other voluntary chemical testing initiatives have been undertaken to fill the gaps and make chemical hazard information on HPV chemicals publicly available.