EPA Announces TSCA Committee, Webinar

MONDAY, JULY 19, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently made several announcements via email regarding the Toxic Substances Control Act: namely, that new members have been appointed to the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, and that the EPA will be holding a webinar on the development of the proposed data reporting rule.

The EPA announced that, last month, nine new members were appointed to the TSCA SACC, as well as a new chair and the reappointment of seven members.

“Members of the TSCA SACC serve staggered terms of appointment, generally of three years,” the EPA noted. “They possess expertise in scientific and technical fields relevant to chemical risk assessment and pollution prevention including human health and ecological risk assessment and chemical exposure to susceptible life stages and subpopulations. In addition to scientific expertise, members also have background and experiences that will contribute to the diversity of scientific viewpoints on the committee, including professional experiences in government, public health, industry, and other groups.”

The full list of members can be found here.

The TSCA SACC aims to serve as a peer review mechanism that provides recommendations to the EPA, and speaking recommendations, the EPA also announced that it is holding a public webinar at 1 p.m. on July 27 to discuss and collect feedback on the development of a proposed rule to collect data on the TSCA risk evaluation process.

“The agency is interested in ensuring that data collection strategies provide information to better meet chemical data needs related to exposure, health, and eco-toxicity. To this end, EPA is exploring the development of a data reporting rule that is designed to inform specific stages of the TSCA section 6 process. Collecting data geared specifically towards prioritization, risk evaluation, and risk management would help ensure the agency has relevant and timely data to inform each step of the process for reviewing potential risks from existing chemicals,” the EPA said.

“Tying specific reporting requirements to the activities that make use of such reported data will also help reduce the burden related to data collection efforts while ensuring that the agency has the information it needs to fulfill its risk evaluation and risk management responsibilities. Additionally, this new data reporting rule would enhance the exposure-related data collected through the Chemical Data Reporting process.”

If you would like to provide commentary, you must register for the webinar by July 22. Those attending to listen only can register at any point until the end of the webinar.

Other Recent Updates

At the beginning of May, the EPA also released a slew of announcements, at that time first releasing a list of 390 chemicals that are expected to lose their confidential status and move to the public portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory.

It also announced a plan to update its Toxics Release Inventory, which includes expanding reporting requirements for certain chemicals and facilities, including PFAS.

The movement of 390 chemicals from confident to public is reportedly a move that aims to further the agency’s commitment to data transparency.

According to the EPA, the identities of these chemicals were reported as non-confidential during Chemical Data Reporting cycles from the 2012, 2016 and/or 2020 reporting periods. In accordance with the CDR rule and with TSCA sections 8 and 14, the EPA intends to update the TSCA Inventory listings for these chemicals to list the specific chemical identities on the public portion of the Inventory.

The EPA has published a list of the chemicals currently identifying them by their accession numbers.

The EPA oiriginally that stakeholders with interest, questions or concerns about this change in confidential status may contact the EPA no later than May 14. That deadline was later pushed to June 30.

The TRI, meanwhile, moves also aim to improve transparency, as well as access to environmental information.

The plan includes expanding the scope of TRI reporting requirements to include additional chemicals and facilities, including facilities that are not currently reporting on ethylene oxide (EtO, found commonly in sterilizers) releases, and providing new tools to make TRI data more accessible to the public.

“Every person in the United States has a right to know about what chemicals are released into their communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “By requiring new and more data on chemical releases from facilities, EPA and its partners will be better equipped to protect the health of every individual, including people of color and low-income communities that are often located near these facilities but have been left out of the conversation for too long.”

The TRI update not only includes expanding reporting to EtO facilities but also:

  • TRI Reporting for Natural Gas Processing Facilities -  EPA plans to finalize a rule to add natural gas  processing facilities to the list of industry sectors covered under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) section 313.
  • TRI Reporting for Additional Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) - EPA will continue to add new PFAS to TRI, in addition to the three PFAS added in Reporting Year 2021. The provisions included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) automatically add certain PFAS to the TRI chemical list when certain conditions are met (see NDAA Section 7321(c)). EPA also anticipates the automatic addition of more PFAS, including perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), following EPA’s recent publication of a toxicity assessment on the chemical.
  • TRI Reporting for TSCA Workplan and High-Priority Chemicals - EPA plans to propose adding to TRI the chemicals included in the TSCA workplan and other substances designated as high-priority substances under TSCA. In addition, EPA plans to propose to list chemicals included in a 2014 petition received from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. Many of these substances could be present in fence line communities, those communities within close proximity to industrial uses of these chemicals where releases to water, air, or land could be of a greater impact.

The EPA is also planning to enhance the TRI tools themselves by including a demographic profile search option, launching a Spanish version of the TRI website and promoting the use of pollution prevention information.

Prior TSCA News

At the end of March, the EPA gave an update on its evaluation surrounding the policies, guidances, templates and regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The Agency said that it had identified several instances “where the approach for making determinations and managing risks associated with new chemicals can more closely align with the requirements of TSCA to ensure protections for human health and the environment, including the use of significant new use rules (SNURs) and assumptions related to worker exposures.”

The announcement stated that the EPA would stop issuing determinations of “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” based on the existence of proposed SNURs.

“Rather than excluding reasonably foreseen conditions of use from EPA’s review of a new substance by means of a SNUR, Congress anticipated that EPA would review all conditions of use when making determinations on new chemicals and, where appropriate, issue orders to address potential risks. Going forward, when EPA’s review leads to a conclusion that one or more uses may present an unreasonable risk, or when EPA lacks the information needed to make a safety finding, the agency will issue an order to address those potential risks,” the Agency noted.

EPA intends to continue issuing SNURs following TSCA section 5(e) and 5(f) orders for new chemicals to ensure the requirements imposed on the submitter via an order apply to any person who manufacturers or processes the chemical in the future.

In addition, though, EPA also intends to ensure necessary protections for workers identified in its review of new chemicals through regulatory means. When the EPA identifies a potential unreasonable risk to workers that could be addressed with appropriate personal protective equipment and hazard communication, it will no longer assume that workers are adequately protected under OSHA’s worker protection standards and updated Safety Data Sheets.

Instead, EPA will identify the absence of worker safeguards as “reasonably foreseen” conditions of use, and mandate necessary protections through a TSCA section 5(e) order, as appropriate.

This update followed a February announcement that the agency will be refining its approach to selections, reviews and evaluations of chemicals within the TSCA.


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

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