Coatings and chemical manufacturers will have to divulge a significant amount of chemical information long held confidential, under a new order by the Environmental Protection Agency.
As part of its Toxic Control Substances Act (TSCA) Confidential Business Information (CBI) Challenge, the EPA has released the identities of more than 150 chemicals contained in 104 health and safety studies that the coatings, chemicals and other industries had held confidential.
|Surfactants and other performance additives are among the chemicals affected by EPA’s new order.|
The chemicals involved are used in dispersant formulations, fire-resistant materials, nonylphenol compounds (used as surfactants), perfluorinated compounds (used to make material stain- and stick-resistant), and lead.
‘Industry Has a Responsibility’
The action follows a year-long effort by EPA to have the American Coatings Association, American Chemistry Council, National Association of Chemical Distributors, American Petroleum Institute, National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and other associations voluntarily disclose more chemical information.
“Industry has a responsibility to increase the transparency of the information it submits to this agency,” Assistant EPA Administrator Steven A. Owens wrote the associations, who also include plastics and fragrance manufacturers.
Owens urged the industries to voluntarily declassify previous unwarranted CBI claims and to “strictly limit CBI claims in any future TSCA filings with the Agency.” EPA also issued new guidance outlining plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies under TSCA.
CBI Claims Rejected
In February 2011, based on that guidance, EPA notified a number of companies that the agency had determined that their CBI claim was not eligible for confidential treatment under TSCA and that EPA intended to make the information public.
On June 8, the agency said that it would declassify the information, including some provided voluntarily by the industry. For these 104 studies, the chemical identity will no longer be redacted, or kept from view. EPA also committed to regularly posting new declassified materials under TSCA on its website and to take other actions to increase the public’s access to chemical information.
EPA called the decision “another in a series of unprecedented actions that EPA is taking to provide the public with greater access to information on the chemicals that are manufactured and used in the United States.”
‘An Important Step’
“This action to disclose the identity of more than 150 chemicals is an important step in EPA’s commitment to give the American people access to critical information about chemicals that their children and families may be exposed to,” said Owens. “A health and safety study with the chemical name kept secret is completely useless to the public.”
In addition to these actions, EPA has taken a number of other steps in recent months to make chemical information more readily available. These include, for the first time ever:
· Free public access to the consolidated TSCA Inventory on the EPA and Data.Gov websites; and
· A new chemical data access tool that gives the public the ability to electronically search EPA’s database of more than 10,000 health and safety documents on a wide range of chemicals.