By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 18, 2021, that it is opening a public comment period for a manufacturer-requested risk evaluation of octahydro-tetramethyl-naphthalenyl-ethanone (OTNE), a category of chemical substances consisting of four inseparable individual isomers. EPA notes that two chemicals in the OTNE category are considered persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals under TSCA, “meaning they are toxic, can remain in the environment for long periods of time, and can build up or accumulate in the body.” Upon publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the public comment period, EPA will accept public comments on the request for 45 days. EPA states that it “welcomes all public comments,” particularly on the following:
- Any information not included in the manufacturer request that commenters believe EPA would need to conduct a risk evaluation;
- Additional conditions of use EPA is proposing to include in the risk evaluation; and
- Information on conditions of use not included in the manufacturer request or in the additional conditions of use EPA proposes to include in the risk evaluation, specifically the inclusion of any additional conditions of use and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations. EPA states that it “is in the process of broadly re-examining how it intends to implement these and other provisions of amended TSCA including determining how new executive orders will be addressed. This process would benefit greatly from stakeholder feedback.”
After the comment period closes, EPA will review the comments and either grant or deny the request to conduct a risk evaluation within 60 days. If EPA grants the request, the manufacturers would be responsible for half the cost of the risk evaluation. International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., Privi Organics USA Corporation, and DRT America, Inc. formally requested the risk evaluation through the OTNE Consortium managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM).
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On February 5, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is reviewing actions issued under the previous Administration and will take any needed steps to ensure that they protect human health and the environment. The announcement included an update on the following chemical safety actions that have immediate or near-term effective dates or other steps associated with them. According to the announcement, these actions, along with other chemical safety actions identified by the Biden-Harris Administration, “will undergo review (and, as necessary, revisions) to ensure they are protective of human health and the environment.”
PBT Final Rules
Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA was required to take expedited action on certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals and promulgate final risk management actions no later than the statutory deadline of December 2020. As reported in our December 23, 2020, memorandum, EPA released on December 22, 2020, final rules under TSCA Section 6(h) for five PBT chemicals -- 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP) (86 Fed. Reg. 866); decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) (86 Fed. Reg. 880); hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) (86 Fed. Reg. 922); pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP) (86 Fed. Reg. 911); and phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) (86 Fed. Reg. 894). The final rules took effect February 5, 2021. EPA states that it “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.”
Dust Lead Post-Abatement Clearance Level (DLCL) Final Rule
In January 2021, EPA issued a final rule establishing lower clearance levels for the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and window sills after lead removal activities (abatement), strengthening lead regulations to protect children’s health. 86 Fed. Reg. 983. The DLCL final rule goes into effect on March 8, 2021. EPA states that it will continue to consider the DLCL final rule and the related final rule for Dust-Lead Hazard Standards, which was revised in 2019, as a part of its broader review of actions, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.
TSCA Risk Evaluations and Risk Management for First Ten Chemicals
EPA issued final TSCA risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals starting in June 2020 and immediately began the risk management process for each of these chemicals. According to EPA, while outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for these chemicals will continue to move forward, EPA “is actively reviewing the final risk evaluations in light of statutory obligations and policy objectives related to use of the best available science and protection of human health and the environment, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.” More information on the final risk evaluations is available in our memoranda available at https://www.lawbc.com/regulatory-developments/tsca.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 8, 2020, that it received a complete manufacturer request to conduct a risk evaluation of octahydro-tetramethyl-naphthalenyl-ethanone (OTNE), a category of chemical substances consisting of four inseparable individual isomers. International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., Privi Organics USA Corporation, and DRT America, Inc. formally requested the risk evaluation through the OTNE Consortium managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM). According to EPA, OTNE is used as a fragrance ingredient, and the four chemicals were identified in the 2014 Update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan.
EPA states that it “worked diligently with the manufacturers to ensure this request was high-quality, complete, and met all the necessary legal requirements.” Two chemicals in the category are considered persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals under TSCA, and EPA describes this request for a manufacturer-requested risk evaluation as “part of EPA’s overall efforts to address PBTs.”
Within 15 business days of receiving a facially complete request, EPA must notify the public of receipt of the request under 40 C.F.R. Section 702.37(e)(2). Within 60 business days of receipt of a facially complete request, EPA will submit for publication the receipt of the request in the Federal Register, open a public docket for the request, and provide no less than 45 calendar days for public comment. The docket will contain the manufacturer request, EPA’s proposed additions of conditions of use, and the basis for those proposed additions. During the public comment period, the public may comment on the request, as well as the additional conditions of use EPA proposes for inclusion. After the comment period closes, EPA has up to 60 days to either grant or deny the request to conduct a risk evaluation under 40 C.F.R. Section 702.37(e)(6).
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to announce the release of the complete suite of TSCA Tutor™ regulatory training courses online and on-demand at www.TSCAtutor.com. Professionals seeking expert, efficient, essential training can preview and enroll in on-demand classes to complete at their own pace and timing. In addition to the newly released online e-learning courses, B&C’s TSCA Tutor™ training platform offers live in-person training at a company’s site and customized live webinar training, so companies can mix and match training modules and training approaches to provide the most suitable combination for their work needs.
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) awareness is a critically important element in the 21st century work environment for any business that involves industrial chemicals. The new normal requires awareness of TSCA’s application to a company’s operations to ensure consistent compliance with TSCA regulations and, importantly, to understand and anticipate how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing implementation of new TSCA will impact a company’s industrial chemical selection and use processes.
TSCA Tutor™ online training courses include:
- Video lessons.
- Detailed hand-out materials, including copies of all presentations and relevant course materials from EPA and other sources.
- Customizable, yet detailed and ready-to-use Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the regulatory topic covered in the session.
The courses were developed and are presented by members of B&C’s renowned TSCA practice group, which includes five former senior EPA officials; an extensive scientific staff, including seven Ph.D.s; and a robust and highly experienced team of lawyers and non-lawyer professionals extremely well versed in all aspects of TSCA law, regulation, policy, compliance, and litigation.
Online courses are offered at $100 for one-hour modules and $200 for 2-hour modules, or $1,400 for the full 12-module training. Courses can be completed at the learner’s own pace, and enrollment is valid for one full year. Interested professionals should visit www.TSCAtutor.com
, or read our full course descriptions here
TSCA Tutor -- Curriculum
- An Overview of TSCA (Course number T101)
- New TSCA at a Glance (Course number T102)
- Import Requirements, TSCA Section 13 (Course number T103)
- Export Requirements, TSCA Section 12 (Course number T104)
- Confidential Business Information (CBI) (Course number T105)
- Reporting and Retention of Information, TSCA Section 8 (Course number T106)
- Inspections and Audits (Course number T201)
- Preparing for a TSCA Audit
- TSCA Penalties/Overview of Self-Confession Policy
- TSCA Section 5, Part 1: TSCA Chemical Inventory, Exemptions (Course number T202)
- TSCA Inventory
- TSCA Section 5, Part 2: New Chemicals/New Use (Course number T203)
- New Chemicals/New Use
- Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) (Course number T204)
- CDR Overview
- Byproduct Reporting under CDR
- Chemical Testing (Regulatory)/Animal Welfare, TSCA Section 4 (Course number T205):
- Chemical Testing
- How to Prepare/Engage If a Chemical of Interest Is Listed under TSCA Section 4
- Prioritization and Risk Evaluation, TSCA Section 6 (Course number T206)
- Overview of Section 6 Risk Framework -- Prioritization, Evaluation, and Management
- How to Prepare/Engage If a Chemical of Interest Is Listed under Section 6
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is a Washington, D.C., law firm focusing on conventional, biobased, and nanoscale industrial, agricultural, and specialty chemical product approval and regulation, and associated business issues. B&C represents clients in many businesses, including basic, specialty, and agricultural and antimicrobial chemicals; biotechnology, nanotechnology, and emerging transformative technologies; paints and coatings; plastic products; and chemical manufacturing, formulation, distribution, and consumer product sectors. Visit www.lawbc.com for more information.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 20, 2019, that it will extend the public comment period for its proposed rule intended to reduce exposures to certain chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). 84 Fed. Reg. 36728. EPA identified five chemicals pursuant to Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE); phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), also known as tris(4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate; 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP); hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD); and pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP). The proposed rule would restrict or prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce for many uses of all of the chemicals except HCBD, for which EPA is proposing no regulatory action. For the other four chemicals, the proposed rule includes recordkeeping requirements, as well as additional downstream notification requirements for PIP (3:1). Comments are now due October 28, 2019. EPA is required to issue a final rule by December 2020. Our June 24, 2019, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Proposed PBT Chemicals Rule under TSCA,” provides a detailed review and analysis.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released on June 21, 2019, a proposed rule intended to reduce exposures to certain chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). EPA identified five chemicals pursuant to Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE); phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), also known as tris(4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate; 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP); hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD); and pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP). The proposed rule would restrict or prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce for many uses of all of the chemicals except HCBD, for which EPA is proposing no regulatory action. For the other four chemicals, the proposed rule includes recordkeeping requirements, as well as additional downstream notification requirements for PIP (3:1). Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register will begin a 60-day comment period. Our June 24, 2019, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Proposed PBT Chemicals Rule under TSCA,” provides a detailed review and analysis.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.
On February 20, 2019, during a cold, snow-filled winter day, the rugged staff of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) as well as several hearty senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials got together over some steaming cups of coffee and discussed the upcoming fate of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) during a Bloomberg-hosted, B&C-developed webinar: Chemical Policy Summit Series Part V: Chemical Regulation After the Mid-Terms: What We Can Expect to See in 2019.
In attendance were: The Honorable Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, the newly appointed Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP); Jeffery T. Morris, Ph.D., Director, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT); Rick P. Keigwin, Jr., Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP); Beau Greenwood, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, CropLife America; Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of B&C; and James V. Aidala, Senior Government Affairs Consultant, B&C. Ms. Dunn, Dr. Morris, and Mr. Keigwin described their priorities in the webinar. Ms. Dunn stated 2019 “is going to be one of those buckle-your-seat-belt kind of years” in relation to getting everything done as required under TSCA. Some of the takeaways from that webinar are listed below.
TSCA Milestones: 2019 and Beyond
- EPA must complete the first ten risk evaluations by December 2019, with a possible extension up to June 2020; EPA may need to take advantage of the extension;
- By April 2019, EPA will need to release the “20 high- and 20 low-” priority candidate chemicals;
- EPA released its first draft chemical risk evaluation -- Colour Index (C.I.) Pigment Violet 29 -- on which many comments were submitted. EPA realized that this selection was challenging given certain data ownership issues and restrictions on those data occasioned by European Union’s (EU) Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation issues; therefore, this initial evaluation was not the best representation of how the other evaluations will be conducted (more information on the risk evaluation is available in our memo EPA Publishes First Draft TSCA Chemical Risk Evaluation);
- EPA is using a new risk assessment program process called “Systematic Review” that has been used in non-risk assessment fields; EPA is the first agency to use this process. EPA welcomes input on the process and stated that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will be reviewing this process as well;
- In March 2019, EPA will release a proposed rule outlining how it will review and substantiate all Confidential Business Information (CBI) claims seeking to protect the specific chemical identities of substances on the confidential portion of the TSCA Inventory; and
- EPA will be proposing its rule to regulate five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals by June 2019; EPA will be using a different approach than what is typically used for risk assessments.
Approving New Chemicals:
- EPA intends to explore its process for new chemical review to be more predictable and to make reviews final within 90 days;
- EPA will post “frequently asked questions” documents to help chemical manufacturers submit clearer applications online;
- EPA is urging pre-submission meetings between premanufacture notice (PMN) submitters and EPA staff prior to submitting a PMN for a new product to reduce agency time spent clarifying omissions; and
- EPA has pledged to make all PMNs, all health and safety studies, attachments, amendments and other associated information available in public dockets.
B&C’s other upcoming seminars and webinars are available here. Some other resources of interest are B&C’s newly minted TSCA Tutor™ Modular Training Program which provides live in-person training at a company’s site, live online training, and pre-recorded webinar training modules -- all designed to offer expert, efficient, and essential TSCA training; as well as B&C’s All Things Chemical™ Podcasts, which provide intelligent, insightful conversation about everything related to industrial, pesticidal, and specialty chemicals and the law and business issues surrounding chemicals.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On October 17, 2018, the Trump Administration published its Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Regulatory Agenda). There are many interesting entries, some of which are flagged here.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed implementing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) amendments to enhance public health and chemical safety as one of its top priorities. According to EPA, the amendments to TSCA that were enacted in June 2016 require EPA “to evaluate existing chemicals on the basis of the health risks they pose -- including risks to vulnerable groups and to workers who may use chemicals daily as part of their jobs.” If unreasonable risks are found, EPA must then take steps to eliminate these risks but, “during the risk management phase, EPA must balance the risk management decision with potential disruption based on compliance to the national economy, national security, or critical infrastructure.” The following TSCA items were included.
The rules in the proposed rule stage are:
- Microorganisms: General Exemptions From Reporting Requirements; Revisions of Recipient Organisms Eligible for Tier I and Tier II Exemptions, 2070-AJ65. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is still developing a revised proposal that will address concerns raised by commenters in response to its preliminary determination that certain strains of Trichoderma reesei and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens will not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment when used as a recipient microorganism, provided that certain criteria for the introduced genetic material and the physical containment conditions are met. EPA is also considering expanding the earlier proposal to prohibit the inclusion of antibiotic resistance genes in the introduced genetic material in microorganisms qualifying for the TSCA Section 5(h)(4) exemption. EPA was scheduled to issue a proposed rule by October 2018.
- Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances; Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), 2070-AJ99. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is developing a supplemental proposal for part of a SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for LCPFAC chemical substances to make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of certain articles. This rule was scheduled to be proposed by October 2018 and issued in final by November 2019. EPA’s initial proposed rule was issued on January 21, 2015.
- Procedural Rule: Review of Confidential Business Information (CBI) Claims for the Identity of Chemicals on the TSCA Inventory -- Amended TSCA Section 8(b)(4)(C), 2070-AK21. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is developing a proposed rule that establishes a plan to review all claims to protect the specific chemical identities of chemical substances on the confidential portion of the active TSCA Inventory. EPA is scheduled to issue the proposed rule by January 2019 and the final rule by December 2019, as TSCA directs a final rule to be issued by December 16, 2019.
- TSCA Chemical Data Reporting Revisions and Small Manufacturer Definition Update for Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under TSCA Section 8(a), 2070-AK33. The Regulatory Agenda states that before the next Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) period of 2020, EPA intends to revise the reporting requirements to better align with new statutory requirements resulting from TSCA, as amended, to address submitters' feedback following the 2016 submission period, and may consider reporting requirements for inorganic byproducts. EPA is also proposing amendments to the size standards for small manufacturers, which impacts certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements for TSCA Section 8(a) rules, including CDR. EPA is scheduled to issue the proposed rule by December 2018 and the final rule by October 2019.
- Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals Under TSCA Section 6(h), 2070-AK34. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is developing a proposed rule to implement TSCA Section 6(h), as amended, which directs EPA to issue regulations for certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical substances that were identified in the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan. TSCA directs these regulations to be proposed by June 22, 2019, and issued in final form no later than 18 months after proposal. According to the Regulatory Agenda, EPA will issue a proposed rule by June 2019.
- Technical Issues; Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products, 2070-AK47. EPA is proposing to amend the regulations promulgated in a final rule published on December 12, 2016, concerning formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products, specifically to address certain technical issues and further align the final rule requirements with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM) Phase II program. EPA issued the proposed rule on November 1, 2018, in the Federal Register; comments are due by December 3, 2018. EPA expects to issue a final rule by March 2019.
The rules in the final rule stage are:
- Review of Dust-Lead Hazard Standards and the Definition of Lead-Based Paint, 2070-AJ82. EPA issued a proposed rule on July 2, 2018, that would lower the current dust-lead hazard standards (DLHS) from 40 mg/ft2 and 250 mg/ft2 to 10 mg/ft2 and 100 mg/ft2 on floors and window sills, respectively, per a final decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Regulatory Agenda states that while EPA has proposed standards of 10 mg/ft2 and 100 mg/ft2 for floors and window sills respectively, EPA encouraged public comment on the full range of candidate standards analyzed as alternatives to the proposal, including the option not to change the current standard or to reduce the floor dust standard but leave the sill dust standard unchanged, since reducing floor dust lead has the greatest impact on children's health. EPA is scheduled to issue the final rule by June 2019. More information on the proposed rule is available in our memorandum “Recent Federal Developments -- July 2018.”
- SNUR for Toluene Diisocyanates (TDI) and Related Compounds, 2070-AJ91. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is preparing the final version of a proposed SNUR issued on January 15, 2015, under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for 2,4-toluene diisocyanate, 2,6-toluene diisocyanate, toluene diisocyanate unspecified isomers, and related compounds; and that there are no changes in the chemicals subject to the SNUR between the proposed and final rule. EPA is scheduled to issue the final rule in November 2018.
- Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices, 2070-AJ94. On July 28, 2016, EPA issued a rule proposing changes to the applicable significant new uses of chemical substances regulations at 40 C.F.R. Part 721 to align EPA's regulations, where possible, with the final revisions to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communications Standard. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is reviewing the comments received and is planning to issue a final rule in February 2019.
- Certain Nonylphenols and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates; SNUR, 2070-AJ96. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is reviewing the comments received on the proposed SNUR issued on October 1, 2014, for certain chemical substances commonly known as nonylphenols (NP) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) and is planning to issue a final rule in September 2019. More information on the proposed SNUR is available in our memorandum “EPA Proposes SNUR for Nonylphenols and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates.”
- Methylene Chloride; Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a), 2070-AK07. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is scheduled to issue the final rule prohibiting the consumer and commercial paint stripping uses for methylene chloride by December 2018. In a press release issued on May 10, 2018, EPA stated that it will not re-evaluate the paint stripping uses of methylene chloride and will rely on its previous risk assessments. See our memorandum “EPA Will Send Final Methylene Chloride Rule to OMB ‘Shortly’” for more information on the proposed rule.
- Asbestos; SNUR, 2070-AK45. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA’s proposed SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for certain uses of asbestos that are no longer in use in the United States is scheduled to be issued in final by January 2019. The proposed SNUR was issued on June 11, 2018, and the comment period ended on August 10, 2018. More information on the proposed rule is available in our memorandum “Monthly Update for June 2018.”
The following Long-Term Action was also listed:
- N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP); Regulation of Certain Uses Under TSCA Section 6(a), RIN 2070-AK46. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA’s two co-proposals for NMP that were proposed on January 19, 2017 (as part of RIN 2070-AK07), will be issued in final with a future date “To Be Determined.” The first co-proposal would prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP for all consumer and most commercial paint and coating removal and the use of NMP for most commercial paint and coating removal. The second co-proposal would require commercial users of NMP for paint and coating removal to establish a worker protection program and not use paint and coating removal products that contain greater than 35 percent NMP by weight, with certain exceptions; and require processors of products containing NMP for paint and coating removal to reformulate products such that they do not exceed 35 percent NMP by weight, to identify gloves that provide effective protection for the formulation, and to provide warnings and instructions on any paint and coating removal products containing NMP. For more information on the proposed rule, please see our memorandum "Monthly Update for February 2017."
For information on the TSCA items included in the Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda, please see our blog item “EPA’s Spring 2018 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan Includes TSCA Rulemakings.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On March 9, 2018, as a first step in developing a proposed rule regulating certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking nominations for individuals who represent small businesses, small governments, and small non-for-profit organizations to serve as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide input on potential impacts of PBT regulation. EPA states the role of a SER is “to provide advice and recommendations to ensure that the Panel carefully considers small entity concerns regarding the impact of the potential rule on their organizations and to communicate with other small entities within their sector who do not serve as SERs,” and will ask the SERs to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise a soon to be created Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel regarding potential impacts to small businesses that could result from the regulation of certain identified PBTs. The SBAR panel will include federal representatives from EPA, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). After collecting input from the small entities, the panel will make recommendations to the Agency on the development of a proposed rule to regulate these PBT chemicals.
Under Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is required, not later than three years after the date of enactment (June 22, 2019), to propose rules regarding the regulation of certain PBTs selected from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments that: (1) EPA has a reasonable basis to conclude are toxic and that with respect to persistence and bioaccumulation score high for one and either high or moderate for the other have been identified; and (2) exposure to which under the conditions of use is likely to the general population or to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation identified by the Administrator, or the environment, on the basis of an exposure and use assessment conducted by the Administrator. The PBT chemicals that EPA has selected are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DecaBDE), used as a flame retardant in textiles, plastics, wiring insulation, and building and construction materials;
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), used as a solvent in the manufacture of rubber compounds and as hydraulic, heat transfer or transformer fluid;
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP), used as a mercaptan (sulfur) cross-linking agent to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses;
- Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1), used as a flame retardant in consumer products and as lubricant, hydraulic fluid, and other industrial uses; and
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl) phenol, an antioxidant that can be used as a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish a SBAR panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. EPA states that the panel process will offer “an opportunity for small businesses, small governments and small not-for-profit organizations … to provide advice and recommendations to ensure that the EPA carefully considers small entity concerns regarding the impact of the potential rule on their organizations.”
EPA states eligible SERs are small entities that manufacture, process, distribute in commerce, use, or dispose any of the five selected PBT chemicals. EPA is seeking self-nominations directly from entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted through the instructions outlined on EPA’s Potential SBAR Panel website and must be received by March 22, 2018. More information about the SBAR process is available online.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Susan M. Kirsch, and Margaret R. Graham
On January 30, 2018, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) convened an Oversight Hearing to Receive Testimony from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. In a written statement submitted in advance of the hearing, Pruitt described implementation of the new Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, or the “new” Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as being of “significant importance” and a “top priority for ensuring the safety of chemicals in the marketplace.” In opening remarks, Senator Tom Carper (Ranking Member of the EPW Committee) (D-DE)) challenged Pruitt’s record on implementing TSCA reform, stating that EPA has not truly used the authority bestowed on it through TSCA to declare that products being sold on the market are safe, therefore, consumers do not have the confidence that they deserve and that Congress intended in passing TSCA. Pruitt did not respond to this comment, and did not go on to address TSCA implementation in his brief opening remarks. Instead, Pruitt devoted the bulk of his opening statement to highlighting specific areas where EPA’s environmental protection goals dovetail well with opportunities for economic growth. These issues/economic opportunities included: investment in infrastructure to eradicate lead from drinking water within a decade; advancing initiatives that incentivize private companies to take on clean-up projects at abandoned mines; and remediation activities at “Superfund” sites -- hazardous waste sites regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) expressed concern that EPA’s chemical reviews under TSCA were only focusing on new “items” (chemicals) being made, but overlooking “legacy” chemicals already in the environment (e.g., asbestos). Merkley cited a report that claimed that review of the ten chemicals on the priority list were being “slow-walked.” In response, Pruitt stated “it is an absolute priority during [EPA’s] first year,” the three TSCA final rules were issued consistent with the implementation schedule in the first year, and the backlog of chemical reviews has been addressed through the addition of resources.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) expressed her concerns regarding the toxic levels of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that have been found throughout New York State, stating that EPA was not using its TSCA authority to regulate these chemicals, as the implementation final rules “ignored the public’s exposure to the past uses of chemicals called legacy uses” that could still have the potential to contaminate groundwater. She also stated her concern that due to this oversight, EPA will not likely study the health risks of widespread exposure to chemicals such as PFOS/PFOS. She requested of Pruitt to revise the TSCA implementation rules to address legacy issues, so that “all uses of a chemical, including legacy uses, are studied.” Pruitt stated that as PFOA and PFOS have not been manufactured since early 2000, they are in fact legacy uses, and that EPA was “very much going to focus” on this issue. Gillibrand appeared to be content with his answer, as she did not demand a further commitment from him. In regards to the Hudson River, Gillibrand requested that data from the sediment sampling be integrated into EPA’s five year review plan regarding the effectiveness of dredging for removing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) from the Hudson River. Pruitt stated that EPA was reviewing the samples currently and that there is more work to be done to get clarity on this issue. Gillibrand requested Pruitt to personally review the final report to ensure that all issues have been addressed and Pruitt confirmed that he would.
Near the close of the hearing, Senator Carper further stated that EPA has failed to follow through on its proposed ban of three highly toxic chemicals that Congress gave it the authority to ban when it enacted TSCA reform: specifically methylene chloride, tricholoroethylene (TCE), and methylpyrrolidone (NMP), and asked Pruitt to commit to using EPA’s authority to ban them within the next 30 days. Pruitt responded that they are on the priority list and that he will confirm this with the agency (that they are priorities, not that they will be banned in 30 days). EPA’s delay in finalizing the bans was among the failures cited in the Senate EPW Minority Staff report, released January 29, 2018, “Basically Backward: How the Trump Administration is Erasing Decades of Air, Water and Land Protections and Jeopardizing Public Health.”
Several Senators indicated their intention to submit additional questions for the record. Pruitt has until February 13, 2018, to submit written responses, which will be made available on the EPW Committee website. The full hearing is available on the EPW Committee’s website.