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EPA to Hold Public Meeting on TSCA

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it is holding a public meeting on Dec. 10 on the implementation of its Toxic Substances Control Act New Chemicals program.

“EPA is committed to increasing transparency in our new chemicals program and values all stakeholder feedback,” the organization said.

“Engaging with stakeholders on our continued implementation of this important program will enhance overall understanding of EPA’s technical review and help ensure submissions move efficiently through the review process.”

Background on 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 recently announced that it is holding a public meeting on Dec. 10 on the implementation of its Toxic Substances Control Act New Chemicals program.

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.

In December 2016, the EPA designated the first 10 substances up for evaluation, which included substances such as Methylene Chloride, N-Methylpyrolidone, and Pigment Violet 29.

In March of this year, the EPA issued a final rule to prohibit the manufacture and importing, processing and distribution of methylene chloride in all paint removers for consumer use. And, in June, the EPA held a meeting to discuss Pigment Violet 29 to get the independent review of the science underlying the PV29 risk assessment, including the hazard assessment, assessment of dose-response, exposure assessment and risk characterization.

In August, the EPA designated 20 substances as “low priority” and 20 substances as “high priority.”

Again, for the chemicals with a final designation of “low priority” a risk evaluation is not warranted.

For the high-priority chemicals, though, the agency asked stakeholders and the public to submit comments. That deadline is today. The EPA is expected to make final designations for these substances next month, which will start the three-year risk evaluation process.

The Meeting

At the Dec. 10 meeting (slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1201 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., and via webinar), the EPA will:

  • Provide an overview of EPA’s updated “Working Approach” document;
  • Demonstrate how EPA has used concepts in the Working Approach to reach conclusions and make determinations;
  • Update confidential business information process improvements and clarifications; and
  • Discuss its progress on transparency in the TSCA New Chemicals program.

In regard to the CBI process, the EPA proposed revisions for that process earlier this month. According to the American Coatings Association, the revisions stem from a recent D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling in litigation involving the Inventory Reset Rule.

Companies that filed a claim to maintain a confidential identity when filing Form A, during the initial TSCA Inventory Rule reporting period, or when filing Form B, after the final inventory took effect, must respond to substantiate claims.

So, the EPA is proposing to add the following questions:

  1. Does this particular chemical substance leave the site of manufacture or processing in any form, e.g., as product, effluent, emission? If so, what measures have been taken to guard against the discovery of its identity?
  2. If the chemical substance leaves the site in a product that is available to the public or your competitors, can the chemical substance be identified by analysis of the product?

The EPA is accepting comments on that until Dec. 9, the day before the meeting.

In terms of the “Working Approach” document, the EPA is aiming to announce availability of the updated document by the end of the year and provide an opportunity for written public comment on the document.


Tagged categories: Construction chemicals; EPA; EPA; Good Technical Practice; Government; Health and safety; NA; North America; Regulations; Safety

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