EPA Announces Reviews, Chemical Webinars
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently sent two emailed press releases discussing both a review of its actions of the course of the previous administration, as well as announcing educational webinars that focus on the recent risk evaluations of both pigment violet 29 (PV29) and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).
In the general chemical safety action update, the Agency said that it’s reviewing all actions taken under the previous administration and that “this review is being done in accordance with the Administration’s Executive Orders and other directives, including those on environmental justice, scientific integrity and regulatory review.”
The EPA listed three rulings in particular that it will be reviewing, two of which fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The first, is the expedited action on certain persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals and the final rules that were associated with those actions that went into effect on Feb. 5.
“EPA is aware of concerns about these rules, including implementation issues, that have been raised by a range of stakeholders and may consider additional measures, approaches, or revisions that build upon the steps taken thus far,” the EPA said. “The agency is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure these rules are both protective and practical.”
The EPA is also looking at the risk evaluations for the first 10 chemicals that were introduced under the revamped TSCA. It said that current risk management and stakeholder activities will continue while the process is being reviewed.
Finally, the EPA listed the Dust Lead Post-Abatement Clearance Level Final Rule, which was just finalized last month and goes into effect March 8. The Agency said that the effective date will also remain in place while that rule is being reviewed.
Continuing with its chemical risk evaluations, the EPA also announced that it is hosting two webinars at the end of the month that aim to educate stakeholders on the risk management process under the TSCA—one focusing on PV29 and the other on NMP. Both webinars are welcoming public input.
The PV29 webinar is slated to be held on Feb. 23. Registration for this webinar ends Feb. 18, and attendees can either select “attend and make a comment” or “listen-only” when registering.
The NMP webinar is slated to be held on Feb. 24. Registration for that webinar ends Feb. 19 and the same instructions apply when registering.
The EPA said in an emailed press in October that, after initially issuing the draft risk evaluation in November 2018, it “received additional data on PV29 in response to test orders, and the sole U.S. manufacturer of this chemical voluntarily submitted additional information to the agency.”
That information was reportedly used to revise the draft risk evaluation.
“This new data led the EPA to revise its analytical approach for evaluating the potential exposure and health effects of PV29,” the agency said.
“As a result of this updated analysis, the revised draft risk evaluation now shows unreasonable risk to workers for 11 out of 14 conditions of use. Because this new data had a significant impact on EPA’s risk evaluation and ultimately the risk determinations, the agency is providing an opportunity for the public and independent, scientific experts to give input before the risk evaluation is finalized.”
“EPA will use feedback received from the public comment period to inform the final risk evaluation for PV29,” the agency noted at the time.
“The revised draft risk evaluation is not a final agency action and represents the agency’s current review of the scientific information on this chemical. As with any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet.”
Background on NMP
Near the end of December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final risk evaluation for n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP). This was the last step in the risk evaluation as required under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The final risk evaluation showed that there are unreasonable risks to workers and consumers in 26 out of 37 conditions of use.
For consumers: The EPA found an unreasonable risk to consumers from one condition of use of NMP (in adhesives and sealants). The EPA notes that risks to consumers can come from short-term inhalation, direct dermal exposure (through the skin) and vapor-through-skin exposure. Other consumer uses include in automotive care products, adhesive removers, cleaning and furniture care products, and arts and craft paint.
For workers: EPA found unreasonable risks to workers from 25 conditions of use of NMP. This chemical is commonly used commercially in the manufacture and production of electronics, agrichemicals, and petroleum products. Risks to workers can come from short-term and long-term inhalation, direct dermal exposure (through the skin) and vapor-through-skin exposure.
However, the EPA did not find any unreasonable risks to the environment or to the general population in any conditions of use.
The next step required by the TSCA is risk management steps, which need to be finalized within two years. The EPA will take public comments on the proposed actions.
“Potential actions EPA could take to address these risks include regulation of how the chemical is used, or limiting or prohibiting the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use, or disposal of this chemical, as applicable,” the EPA noted in a press release.
“As with any chemical product, EPA strongly recommends that users of products containing NMP continue to carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label and safety data sheet.”
The comment period for the evaluation ended at the end of January 2020 for the draft risk evaluation of more than 30 uses of NMP. The Environmental Protection Agency said that it will use feedback received from the public comment process, along with input from the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, to inform the final risk evaluation for NMP.
The agency first announced that it was considering a ban of the use of NMP in January 2017, along with methylene chloride.