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.

This week's All Things Chemical™ Podcast will be of interest to readers of the TSCAblog™. A brief description of the episode written by Lynn L. Bergeson is below.

This week I sat down with Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., B&C’s Director of Chemistry, and all-around TSCA savant. Rich is an organic chemist and a 17-year veteran with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, where Rich managed the Green Chemistry Program and reviewed some 10,000 new chemical notifications.

Given all that is going on at EPA with implementing the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which extensively amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Rich and I discussed a wide range of ongoing and planned EPA initiatives.  These include EPA’s risk evaluations under TSCA Section 6, progress EPA has made in reviewing new chemicals and work that remains to be done, how EPA has responded to staff and resources challenges, key ongoing litigations challenging various aspects of TSCA implementation, and what to look for as we approach the end of the calendar year and the impact of the pending National election.  Rich’s insights are always fascinating and enlightening, and our conversation is sparkling and entertaining.

ALL MATERIALS IN THIS PODCAST ARE PROVIDED SOLELY FOR INFORMATIONAL  AND ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES. THE MATERIALS ARE NOT INTENDED TO CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR THE PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES. ALL LEGAL QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ANSWERED DIRECTLY BY A LICENSED ATTORNEY PRACTICING IN THE APPLICABLE AREA OF LAW.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

As reported in our May 29, 2020, blog item, 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 a 2009 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Premanufacture Notice Consent Order.  OIG’s recommendations included that EPA implement a process for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (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.  On August 5, 2020, OIG announced that EPA has provided an update to its response to the OIG report.  EPA states that the Office of Civil Enforcement/Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division (OECA/WCED) and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics/Chemical Control Division (OCSPP/CCD) have developed a TSCA Section 5(e) Order Boilerplate that “clarifies and strengthens the provisions of the Order for New Chemical Substances.”  According to EPA, in 2020, OCSPP/CCD and OECA/WCED established and implemented a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure that WCED, the office responsible for compliance monitoring and enforcement activities, reviews and approves the terms and conditions of TSCA Section 5(e) Orders developed by CCD.  EPA notes that the establishment of the SOP is intended to meet OIG’s recommendation.  EPA states that the Review and Approval Protocol “provides sufficient assurance that compliance and enforcement requirements in TSCA 5(e) orders will be reviewed and approved by OCSPP and OECA.”  OIG commented on EPA’s updated response, stating that it now considers this recommendation complete.


 
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On August 3, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $3,980,782 in funding to five academic research teams to develop New Approach Methods (NAM) for evaluating chemical toxicokinetics.  According to EPA, compared to traditional animal testing, NAMs allow researchers better to predict potential hazards for risk assessment purposes without the use of traditional methods that rely on animal testing.  EPA is providing a grant of up to $800,000 to each research team through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program.  EPA states that the projects will address gaps in ways to obtain data for informing chemical toxicokinetics and exposure-related factors not currently considered.  The five recipients include:
  • Purdue University to create an integrated blood brain barrier computer model to help determine if a chemical may cause neurotoxicity;
     
  • Texas A&M University to help integrate different types of chemical safety testing for more robust results;
     
  • University of Nevada to develop better estimations of the bioavailability of chemicals to assess the significance of public exposure;
     
  • Vanderbilt University to work on methods to refine organ-on-chip devices for chemical testing; and
     
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to determine how zebrafish metabolism can be better correlated to the human metabolism to improve models for chemical toxicity testing.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
As reported in our March 23, 2020, memorandum, on March 18, 2020, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGO) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that EPA fails to disclose information about new chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Environmental Defense Fund v. Wheeler, No. 1:20-cv-762.  On July 27, 2020, the parties submitted a joint case management statement.  According to the statement, the parties agree that the case can be resolved by motions for summary judgment and that there is no need for a trial.  The parties state that they disagree about whether administrative records exist and the availability and scope of discovery, however.  Resolving these questions will implicate the timing for any discovery, the appropriate deadline for final amended pleadings, and the appropriate schedule for summary judgment briefing.  The parties note that they are currently discussing options to resolve as many of these questions as possible and that they believe successfully resolving them could reduce the number and complexity of procedural issues before the court.  In particular, according to the statement, the parties are discussing options to narrow the scope of factual and legal issues presented, which may minimize the potential for future disputes over the availability and scope of discovery.  The parties propose to submit an updated case management statement no later than August 31, 2020.


 

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

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are now assembling an ad hoc committee to identify emerging scientific and technological advances from across a broad range of disciplines that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) should consider in its research planning to support EPA’s mission for protecting human health and the environment.  In addition, according to NASEM, the committee will recommend how ORD could best take advantage of those advances to meet current and future challenges during the next 10 - 20 years.  NASEM states that the committee will consider EPA’s mission, strategic planning documents, and current initiatives, as well as other broader topics, including, but not limited to, biotechnology, big data, climate impacts, environmental monitoring and sensors, impacts of stressors on ecological and human health, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.  The committee also will consider advances that help EPA better incorporate systems thinking into multimedia, multidisciplinary approaches.

The study will be carried out by a committee of approximately 16 volunteer experts from a wide range of disciplines that can be applied to current and emerging environmental challenges facing society, including:

  • Physical, chemical, biological, environmental, and social sciences;
  • Exposure science;
  • Public health;
  • Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;
  • Engineering;
  • Informatics/information technology;
  • Risk assessment;
  • Risk management;
  • Environmental policy decision-making;
  • Communication and application of scientific information in environmental decision-making; and
  • Emerging science and technology.

Nominations for committee members and reviewers are due August 5, 2020.

Tags: NASEM, ORD

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments on the experts under consideration for membership on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC).  Biographies of the candidates are available in Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0135.  Comments are due August 21, 2020.  EPA states that it will use public comments to assist it in selecting multiple members of SACC over the next year.  EPA expects to appoint approximately 15 members to SACC by March 2021.

Tags: SAAC, Comments

 

This week's All Things Chemical™ Podcast will be of interest to readers of the TSCAblog™. A brief description of the episode written by Lynn L. Bergeson is below.

This week I sat down with Congressman John M. Shimkus, a Member of the United States House of Representatives for the 15th District of Illinois.  As listeners of the podcast know well, Congressman Shimkus is a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  In this capacity, Congressman Shimkus has become a rock star in the industrial chemical community, given his tireless efforts to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) , which of course resulted in passage four years ago of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg).

Given Congressman Shimkus’s extensive involvement in and personal commitment to reforming TSCA, our conversation focused on the efforts that have been under way since June 2016 to implement the massive and complicated new law.  We address many aspects of Lautenberg’s implementation, not just by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but also efforts under way by other industrial chemical stakeholders, including industry, non-government organizations (NGOs), states, and the courts.  We discuss the many, many rulemakings EPA has issued since 2016 and survey the next leg of EPA’s journey to implement the new law over the next 12 to 24 months, which will be extremely busy.  Congressman Shimkus is as passionate today as he was four years ago about chemical safety, as you will hear in this recording.

ALL MATERIALS IN THIS PODCAST ARE PROVIDED SOLELY FOR INFORMATIONAL  AND ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES. THE MATERIALS ARE NOT INTENDED TO CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR THE PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES. ALL LEGAL QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ANSWERED DIRECTLY BY A LICENSED ATTORNEY PRACTICING IN THE APPLICABLE AREA OF LAW.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, and Holly M. Williams

On June 30, 2020, the Trump Administration released the Spring 2020 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)  According to the Unified Agenda, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is working on several rulemakings under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Rulemakings at the proposed stage are listed below:

  • Review of Dust-Lead Post-Abatement Clearance Levels.  On June 24, 2020, EPA published a proposed rule that would lower the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and windowsills after lead removal activities (dust-lead clearance levels (DLCL)) from 40 micrograms (µg) of lead in dust per square foot (ft2) to 10 µg/ft2 for floor dust and from 250 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2 for window sill dust.  85 Fed. Reg. 37810.  Comments on the proposed rule are due August 24, 2020.  EPA intends to publish a final rule in September 2020.
     
  • Reporting and Recordkeeping for Certain Chemicals under TSCA Section 8(a).  EPA is developing a rulemaking under TSCA Section 8(a) to add certain chemicals that are on the TSCA Work Plan to the Chemical-Specific Reporting and Recordkeeping rules in 40 C.F.R. Part 704, Subpart B.  EPA is developing this rule to obtain information about potential hazards and exposure pathways related to certain chemicals on the TSCA Work Plan, particularly occupational, environmental, and consumer exposure information.  EPA states that this information is needed to inform prioritization and risk evaluation of the chemical substances, as mandated under TSCA Section 6.  EPA intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in November 2020 and a final rule in June 2021.
     
  • Revisions to the Fees Rule under TSCA.  EPA is reviewing its 2018 final rule that established the requirements and procedures for setting and collecting fees from chemical manufacturers (including importers) and, in some cases, processors, submitters of new chemical substances, and others.  TSCA Section 26(b)(4)(F) requires EPA to review and adjust the fees every three years and to consult with parties potentially subject to fees when the fees are reviewed and updated to reflect changes in program costs.  EPA states that in addition to possible revisions resulting from this review, consistent with its announcement in March 2020, it will also consider proposing exemptions to the current rule’s self-identification requirements associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations for manufacturers that:  (1) import the chemical substance in an article; (2) produce the chemical substance as a byproduct; and (3) produce or import the chemical substance as an impurity.  EPA intends to issue an NPRM in December 2020 and a final rule in October 2021.  More information on EPA’s March 2020 announcement is available in our April 17, 2020, blog item.
     
  • Updates to New Chemicals Procedural Regulations to Reflect the 2016 TSCA Amendments:  EPA states that the 2016 amendments impacted how it reviews and makes determinations on new chemical notices under TSCA Section 5.  EPA acknowledges that as a result of these increased responsibilities, “it has become more challenging for EPA to complete reviews within 90 days.”  This rulemaking seeks to revise the procedural regulations in 40 C.F.R. Part 720 to improve the efficiency of EPA’s review process and to align its processes and procedures with the new statutory requirements.  EPA intends to increase the quality of information initially submitted in new chemicals notices and improve its processes to reduce unnecessary rework in the risk assessment and, ultimately, the length of time that new chemicals are under review.  EPA intends to publish an NPRM in September 2020 and a final rule in July 2021.

Rulemakings at the final stage include:

  • Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices.  On July 28, 2016, EPA proposed amending components of the Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations at 40 C.F.R. Section 721, specifically the “Protection in the Workplace” (40 C.F.R. Section 721.63) and “Hazard Communication Program” (40 C.F.R. Section 721.72).  The proposed changes are intended to align, where possible, EPA’s regulations with the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations at 29 C.F.R. Section 1910.1200.  EPA intends to issue a final rule in August 2020.  More information on the proposed rule is available in our July 29, 2016, memorandum, “:  TSCA:  Proposed Revisions to Significant New Use Rules Reflect Current Occupational Safety and Health Standards.”
     
  • Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances (PFAS); Significant New Use Rule (SNUR).  In a January 21, 2015, proposed SNUR for LCPFAC and PFAS chemical substances, EPA proposed to require notification of significant new uses from persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of any article.  80 Fed. Reg. 2885.  EPA proposed to make the exemption from notification requirements for persons who import the chemical substance as part of an article inapplicable for the import of a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances in all articles.  As reported in our February 28, 2020, memorandum, “Proposed Supplemental SNUR Would Remove Exemption for LCPFAC Chemical Substances Used as Surface Coatings on Articles,” EPA issued a supplemental proposal that would make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of surface coatings on articles.  EPA intended to issue a final rule in June 2020.
     
  • Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE); Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h).  TSCA Section 6(h) directs EPA to issue regulations under Section 6(a) for certain PBT chemical substances identified in the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan.  EPA states that it is selecting among the available prohibitions and other restrictions in TSCA Section 6(a) to address risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator determines are presented by the chemical substances and reduce exposure to the chemical substances to the extent practicable.  Since the statute states that a risk evaluation is not required for these chemical substances under TSCA Section 6(h), EPA developed an exposure and use assessment.  According to the Unified Agenda item, EPA intends to take final action on all of the chemicals that were addressed in the July 29, 2019, proposed rule (i.e., the following PBT chemicals identified in TSCA Section 6(h):  DecaBDE; phenol, isopropylated phosphate  (PIP) (3:1); 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (TTBP); pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP); and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD).  Although addressed in a single proposed rule, EPA intends to issue separate final rules.  EPA proposed to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of DecaBDE, and articles and products to which DecaBDE has been added with several exceptions, and proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements.  EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.  More information is available in our June 24, 2019, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Proposed PBT Chemicals Rule under TSCA.”
     
  • PIP (3:1); Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h).  EPA proposed to prohibit the processing and distribution in commerce of PIP (3:1), and products containing the chemical substance with several exceptions; prohibit releases to water from the non-prohibited processing, distribution in commerce, and commercial use activities.  Persons manufacturing, processing, and distributing PIP (3:1), and products containing PIP (3:1), in commerce would be required to notify their customers of these restrictions, and EPA proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements.  EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
     
  • TTBP; Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h.).  EPA proposed to prohibit the distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP in any container with a volume of less than 55 gallons for any use to prevent the use of 2,4,6-TTBP as a fuel additive or fuel injector cleaner by consumers and small commercial operations (e.g., automotive repair shops, marinas).  The proposed restriction also would prohibit processing and distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP, and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP, for use as an oil or lubricant additive, regardless of container size.  EPA also proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements.  EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
     
  • PCTP; Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h).  EPA proposed to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of PCTP, and products containing PCTP, unless in concentrations at or below one percent by weight; and proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements.  EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
     
  • HCBD; Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h).  For HCBD, EPA proposed no regulatory action.  EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.

 

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.


 
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