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EPA Announces Updates to Chemical Tracker Tool

Monday, August 5, 2019

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a release last week that it is continuing “its commitment to transparency” by making additional information about chemicals notices available to the public.

Now, visitors to the updated chemical review status tracker can view and search monthly updates for any active Premanufacture Notice, Significant New Use Notice and Microbial Commercial Activity Notice of interest by case number.

The EPA notes that this change adds to the existing status tables describing the received date, the interim status and final determinations for each case reviewed by EPA since the amendments to Toxic Substances Control Act were passed in 2016.

About the TSCA

In 2016, the TSCA got its first upgrade in 40 years as part of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which now requires the EPA to test all of the chemicals that had gotten through the previously weak TSCA (about 85,000 untested chemicals) with a target of about 2,000 a year.

© iStock / Skyhobo

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a release last week that it is continuing “its commitment to transparency” by making additional information about chemicals notices available to the public.

First, chemicals are sorted into “high” and “low” priority categories. No further action is taken with chemicals considered to be “low priority,” but “high priority” chemicals then move on to a risk evaluation.

The risk evaluation first looks at all possible uses of a chemical (everything from how it’s manufactured to how it’s used and how it’s disposed of). Then, it will look at how many possible ways it can come into contact with people and the impact it will have. After its possible exposure is totaled, the EPA will then look at the impact it will have on society’s most vulnerable, such as children, industry workers or the environment. This step has to be concluded within three years. If the EPA thinks it needs more time for analysis, it can extend the process one additional year.

After the evaluation is complete, the EPA decides whether or not to regulate the chemical. If the chemical is deemed unsafe, the EPA then has two years to specify restrictions. This timeframe can also extend an additional year.

The Tracker

“By making this tracker available online, for the first time the public will easily be able to learn where a particular new chemical is in the EPA review process,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“With this step the agency is following through on its commitment to transparency and is providing applicants, stakeholders and the public with an easy-to-use tool to monitor the progress of new chemical safety reviews.”

Visitors are now also able to download a spreadsheet with a list of all active cases and each case’s status. Previously, the agency only presented the number of cases in each step of the review process without identifying case numbers.

The EPA goes on to say that this action is “another important step toward meeting EPA’s transparency goals and complements other recent actions, including publishing all new chemical notices and their attachments (May 2019) and publishing information about TSCA Confidential Business Information claim reviews (July 2019).”

Later this year, website visitors will be able to connect to certain PMN and SNUN cases of interest on ChemView through links in the status tracker. The agency plans to continue to increase access to this information next year by increasing the frequency of updates to the tracker.

   

Tagged categories: Construction chemicals; EPA; EPA; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Regulations

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