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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold webinars on February 2, 2021, and February 18, 2021, to consult with environmental justice communities on risk management for the cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD) and carbon tetrachloride.  The webinars will focus on the environmental justice impacts of EPA’s development of proposed rules to address the unreasonable risks identified in the final TSCA risk evaluations for these chemicals.  EPA states that both sessions will address HBCD and carbon tetrachloride.  EPA is offering repeated sessions to increase opportunities for participation.  According to EPA, both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from HBCD and carbon tetrachloride, and discussion of environmental justice concerns.  EPA notes that in addition to being open to the public, it 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 formal consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes.  There will also be an open public comment period on the proposed risk management regulations.  More information on EPA’s final risk evaluations is available in our September 28, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Final Risk Evaluation for HBCD,” and in our November 4, 2020, memorandum, “Final Risk Evaluation for Carbon Tetrachloride Finds Unreasonable Risks to Workers and Occupational Non-Users.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 9, 2020, that it is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profits to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide advice and recommendations to a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel for the cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD).  The Panel will focus on EPA’s development of a proposed rule to address unreasonable risks identified in EPA’s recently completed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation for HBCD.  As reported in our September 28, 2020, memorandum, EPA found unreasonable risks to the environment from six out of 12 conditions of use and unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (ONU) from the processing, use, and disposal of HBCD, largely from building and construction materials.  EPA’s website states “EPA did not find unreasonable risks to the general population or consumers.” Nevertheless, in the risk evaluation document, EPA did find unreasonable risk from fish ingestion at the high-end exposure in one scenario.  EPA is now moving to the risk management step in the TSCA process by working to draft regulations to protect public health from the unreasonable risks identified in the final risk evaluation.
 
According to EPA, the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish an SBAR Panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.  The SBAR Panel will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA.  The SBAR Panel will select SERs to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise the Panel on the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities.  EPA states that it is seeking self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule’s requirements.  EPA notes that 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 online and must be received by November 23, 2020.
 
EPA states that in addition to engaging with small businesses, it “is executing a robust outreach effort on risk management that includes one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, and environmental justice communities.”  EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulation.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On September 24, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final risk evaluation for cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD).  EPA found unreasonable risks to the environment from six out of 12 conditions of use and unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (ONU) from the use and disposal of HBCD in building and construction materials.  EPA found no unreasonable risks to the general population and no unreasonable risks to consumers.  EPA’s next step in the process required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is to develop a plan to reduce or eliminate the unreasonable risks found in the final risk evaluation.  EPA states that it “is moving immediately to risk management for this chemical and will work as quickly as possible to propose and finalize actions to protect workers, occupational non-users, and the environment.”  EPA states that the action it could take to address these risks includes regulating how HBCD is used or limiting or prohibiting the manufacture, processing, distribution in the marketplace, use, or disposal of HBCD, as applicable.  As with any chemical product, EPA “strongly recommends that users of products containing HBCD continue to carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label and safety data sheet.”  EPA notes that this is the third final risk evaluation that it has issued and that it plans to issue the seven remaining final risk evaluations by the end of 2020.  More information will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On June 28, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft risk evaluations for cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD) and 1,4-dioxane, two of the first ten chemicals undergoing risk evaluation under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  In its June 28, 2019, press release, EPA states in the draft risk evaluation for HBCD, it did not find unreasonable risk to the general population, consumers, workers, or the environment.  According to EPA, in the draft risk evaluation for 1,4-dioxane, EPA did not find unreasonable risk to the environment, but the data “show there could be unreasonable risks to workers in certain circumstances.”  EPA states:  “It is important to note that for the general population, including children, environmental statutes administered by EPA such as the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, adequately assess and effectively manage risks from 1,4-dioxane.”

On Monday, July 1, 2019, EPA will publish a Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the draft risk evaluations and beginning a 60-day comment period.  The draft risk evaluations will be peer reviewed by the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on July 29- August 2, 2019.  SACC will hold a preparatory virtual meeting to discuss the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions on July 10, 2019.