Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm providing chemical and chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in matters relating to TSCA, and other global chemical management programs.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of new interim guidance on destroying and disposing of certain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and PFAS-containing materials for public comment.  85 Fed. Reg. 83554.  The interim guidance outlines the current state of the science on techniques and treatments that may be used to destroy or dispose of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials from non-consumer products, including aqueous film-forming foam for firefighting.  According to EPA’s December 18, 2020, press release, the interim guidance assembles and consolidates information in a single document that generally describes thermal treatment, landfill, and underground injection technologies that may be effective in the destruction or disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials.  To help ensure informed decision-making, the technology-specific information describes uncertainties and how those uncertainties should be weighed given situation-specific factors, such as the waste’s physical phase (liquid, solid, gas).
 
As required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA), the interim guidance addresses PFAS and PFAS-containing materials including:

  • Aqueous film-forming foam (for firefighting);
  • Soil and biosolids;
  • Textiles, other than consumer goods, treated with PFAS;
  • Spent filters, membranes, resins, granular carbon, and other waste from water treatment;
  • Landfill leachate containing PFAS; and
  • Solid, liquid, or gas waste streams containing PFAS from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS.

EPA notes that the interim guidance is not intended to address destruction and disposal of PFAS-containing consumer products, such as non-stick cookware and water-resistant clothing.  EPA is also providing guidance on testing and monitoring air, effluent, and soil for releases near potential destruction or disposal sites.  The interim guidance captures the significant information gaps associated with PFAS testing and monitoring and identifies specific research needs to address the FY20 NDAA requirements.  Comments are due February 22, 2021.

Tags: PFAS, Guidance

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 3, 2020, that it will hold webinars to consult with environmental justice communities on risk management for methylene chloride and 1-bromopropane (1-BP).  EPA states that the webinars are open to the public and will focus on the environmental justice impacts of EPA’s development of proposed rules to address the unreasonable risks identified in the final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations for these chemicals.  EPA will hold “identical” consultation webinars on November 16, 2020, and November 19, 2020.  According to EPA, both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations for methylene chloride and 1-BP, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from methylene chloride and 1-BP, and discussion of environmental justice concerns.  In addition to being open to the public, EPA is inviting national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate.  EPA states that in addition to environmental justice consultations, it is executing a “robust outreach effort on risk management that includes one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes.”  EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on proposed risk management regulations.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 8, 2020, a “broad public engagement and outreach effort” to discuss how EPA will approach the rulemaking process to address unreasonable risks found in final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) chemical risk evaluations.  After issuing the first two final risk evaluations, methylene chloride and 1-bromopropane, EPA states that it “is moving into the risk management phase and is hosting a robust process to gain important feedback from stakeholders on the options for managing those risks.”  EPA will hold two public webinars to kick off this outreach effort:

  • The first webinar, scheduled for September 16, 2020, will feature a discussion of the findings from the final risk evaluation for methylene chloride.  More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation is available in our June 25, 2020, memorandum; and
  • The second webinar, scheduled for September 30, 2020, will include a discussion of the findings from the final risk evaluation for 1-bromopropane.  More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation is available in our August 11, 2020, memorandum.

According to EPA, each webinar will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management process and the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks.
 
EPA intends to schedule additional public webinars as it begins the risk management process for chemicals with unreasonable risks.  EPA states that it will also begin one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, environmental justice communities, and small businesses.  EPA notes that there will be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulation.
 
According to EPA, there are several actions it can take under TSCA to address unreasonable risks, including banning a chemical; restricting the manufacturing, processing, distribution, or use; requiring warning labels/testing; and requiring manufacturers to notify distributors of any unreasonable risks. EPA has up to one year after issuing a final risk evaluation to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On July 27, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated a final significant use rule (SNUR) for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances.  85 Fed. Reg. 45109.  The final SNUR requires persons to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture (including import) or processing of these chemical substances for the significant new uses described in the notice.  The required significant new use notification initiates EPA’s evaluation of the conditions of use associated with the significant new use.  Manufacturing (including import) or processing for the significant new use are prohibited from commencing until EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and taken such actions as are required in association with that determination.  EPA notes that as with any SNUR, the final rule excludes ongoing uses as ongoing uses cannot be subject to a SNUR.  The final rule will be effective September 25, 2020.  More information on the final SNUR is available in our July 27, 2020, memorandum.

Tags: SNUR, LCPFAC

 

Chemical manufacturers and processors have just over four months to submit Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) data by the November 30, 2020, close of the reporting period. To assist companies in that process, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) developed CDR Cross-Check™, an ingenious and cost-efficient tool to identify whether a company’s chemicals are subject to CDR reporting and if so, at what reporting threshold.

CDR Cross-Check will identify:

  • Whether the chemical is listed as active or inactive;
     
  • Whether the chemical was subject to specific TSCA regulatory actions in 2016;
     
  • Whether the chemical is exempt; and
     
  • What the reporting thresholds are based on the updated data released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 29, 2020.

Visit the CDR Cross-Check page on the Acta website for a sample report and information on how to use CDR Cross-Check.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On July 16, 2020, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGO) filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final risk evaluation for methylene chloride.  The NGOs seek review of EPA’s determination “that the chemical methylene chloride does not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under certain conditions of use” and its decision not to consider “certain uses and pathways through which members of Petitioners are exposed and face risks of exposure to methylene chloride.”  The coalition includes the Neighbors for Environmental Justice; the New Jersey Work Environment Council; Sierra Club; the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO; and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  According to Earthjustice’s July 16, 2020, press release, the NGOs “represent workers who manufacture and use methylene chloride and communities that are exposed to methylene chlorid[]e from their air and water.”

As reported in our June 25, 2020, memorandum, “Final Risk Evaluation for Methylene Chloride Is First Completed under Lautenberg Act Amendments,” after evaluating 53 conditions of use of methylene chloride, EPA determined that 47 conditions of use present an unreasonable risk of injury to health, while six do not present an unreasonable risk.  EPA also determined that methylene chloride does not present an unreasonable risk to the environment under any conditions of use.  Release of a final risk evaluation is the last step in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 6(b) process and will guide EPA’s efforts in applying Section 6(a) to reduce human exposure to methylene chloride “so that the chemical . . . no longer presents such risk.”  EPA “will now begin the process of developing ways to address the unreasonable risks identified and has up to one year to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.”  EPA could prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use, or disposal of methylene chloride.  Any regulatory action will include opportunities for public comment.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On May 28, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report entitled EPA Toxic Substances Control Act Consent Orders Need Better Coordination.  OIG conducted the evaluation to determine what actions EPA took to verify compliance with the requirements of the 2009 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Premanufacture Notice Consent Order with DuPont (responsibilities transferred to The Chemours Company in 2015) to prevent the release of GenX chemicals in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.  OIG notes that GenX chemicals are a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rain water, and air emissions.  OIG found insufficient communication and coordination between the two EPA offices responsible for developing and enforcing the consent order requirements designed to reduce risks in the manufacture of GenX chemicals.  Under the 2009 Consent Order, EPA required DuPont to determine how to recover and capture 99 percent of GenX’s manufacturing discharges and air emissions.  The Consent Order was not reviewed or approved by the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), which is responsible for conducting inspections to verify compliance, however.  Until June 2017, EPA’s actions to verify compliance with the 2009 Consent Order and new chemicals testing requirements consisted of tracking and reviewing information provided by the manufacturer.  According to OIG, following the local media coverage of the presence of GenX chemicals in the Cape Fear River in 2017, Region 4 and EPA contractors conducted EPA’s first on-site compliance monitoring inspection at the Fayetteville Works facility, which manufactures GenX.  OIG found that the Region 4 inspectors were unaware of the 2009 Consent Order and its requirements until the inspection was requested by EPA headquarters.
 
OIG recommends that EPA establish and implement processes:

  1. For OECA to review and approve the terms and conditions of TSCA Section 5(e) Consent Orders that it is responsible for verifying during compliance monitoring and enforcement activities; and
     
  2. To provide final TSCA Section 5(e) Consent Orders to regions and verify that the regions have the final consent orders.

OIG states that EPA “did not provide an acceptable corrective action for Recommendation 1, and we consider this recommendation unresolved.”  For Recommendation 2, EPA provided an alternative course of action that OIG finds acceptable.  OIG considers Recommendation 2 resolved with corrective action pending.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release announcing a final agreement with Swix Sport USA (Swix) resolving Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) violations associated with the importation of noncompliant ski wax products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  According to the press release, Swix agrees to pay a fine and develop a $1 million educational program to raise awareness in ski communities about PFAS chemicals in ski waxes.  EPA states that Swix violated the TSCA Premanufacturing Notice requirements and Import Certification requirements when it imported ski wax products containing six different PFAS chemicals on at least 83 occasions that were not included on the TSCA Inventory or otherwise exempt for commercial purposes.  Once the chemicals were identified, Swix immediately ceased importation of the products containing the PFAS substances and quarantined products in its control in the United States.
 
Under the terms of the settlement, Swix has agreed to spend approximately $1 million to develop and implement an outreach and training program referred to as a Responsible Waxing Project (RWP) and pay a $375,625 civil penalty.  The RWP is aimed at:  (1) educating the ski racing community about PFAS chemicals in racing waxes and their impact on the environment; and (2) promoting the use of wax alternatives with lower environmental impact, including but not limited to racing waxes that are PFAS-free.  Another objective of the RWP is to educate and motivate the ski racing community to phase out (and ultimately eliminate) the use of PFAS-containing waxes in ski racing beginning with the 2020 ski season.
 
EPA notes that the RWP has several elements, including an education and training component for ski wax technicians on the proper disposal of racing wax shavings and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during the waxing process.  Other RWP elements include:

  • PFAS ski wax education program, including two on-site presentations at a major ski event that attracts more than 10,000 participants;
     
  • Training for wax technicians on the proper use of PPE, proper ventilation, and proper disposal of wax shavings;
     
  • Program for ski wax coaches available online and used at on-site presentations at a minimum of ten events designed for coach certifications;
     
  • Additional outreach to college racing teams and clubs that educates high school and college level skiers about the RWP content;
     
  • A dedicated Swix project manager who oversees the project to completion;
     
  • Website development for all videos created as part of the settlement for technicians, coaches, and teams; and
     
  • Distribution of PFAS alternative wax information materials at a minimum of 50 ski sites.

EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board approved the consent agreement and final order on May 13, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) announced on May 1, 2020, the availability of industry-specific guidelines and resources intended to help employers and employees get back to work safely.  Guidelines are available for at-home service providers, retail, restaurant, hair and nail salon, and construction industries, general office settings, gyms and workout facilities and rideshare, taxi, limo, and other passenger driver-for hire.  The guidelines include recommendations on ventilation, personal hygiene, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning.  The guidelines and other resources are available to download on a new website, http://www.backtoworksafely.org.  Additionally, COVID-19 resources on personal protective equipment (PPE) and re-entry into the workplace hazards can be found at the AIHA Media Outreach Center.
 
AIHA notes that the Back-to-Work Safely initiative is the most recent addition to a public relations campaign to clarify misinformation on PPE, ventilation, and disinfection and to educate employers and consumers about the hazards associated with re-entry into the workplace.

Tags: AIHA, Covid-19

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On March 17, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of a final rule amending the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule.  According to EPA, the amendments are intended to reduce the burden for certain CDR reporters, improve the quality of CDR data collected, and align reporting requirements with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act’s (Lautenberg Act) amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA states that some of the key revisions include:

  • Simplifying reporting, including allowing manufacturers to use certain processing and use data codes already in use by many chemical manufacturers as part of international codes developed through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);
     
  • Updating requirements for making confidentiality claims to align with the requirements in amended TSCA; and
     
  • Adding reporting exemptions for specific types of byproducts manufactured in certain equipment.

Additionally, EPA is extending the reporting period for CDR data submitters from September 30, 2020, to November 30, 2020, to provide additional time for the regulated community to familiarize themselves with the amendments and to allow time for reporters to familiarize themselves with an updated public version of the reporting tool.  The reporting period will still begin on June 1, 2020.  EPA will host a webinar on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, to discuss the revised reporting requirements, provide an overview of the 2020 CDR submission period, and to give an introduction to the updated e-CDRweb reporting tool.  EPA has posted pre-publication versions of the final rules amending the CDR rule and extending the reporting period.  More information will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.

Tags: CDR, Reporting

 
 1 2 3 >