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 Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On April 17, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of updated systematic review supplemental files with data evaluation scoring sheets as supporting documents for the draft risk evaluation for Colour Index (C. I.) Pigment Violet 29 (PV29) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  84 Fed. Reg. 16011.  EPA states it is “seeking public comment on the draft risk evaluation for PV29 in light of the additional materials already made or being made publicly available.”  In her April 16, 2019, blog item, Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, described the updated systematic review documents for PV29 as “a tool that guides our review and selection of scientific studies used to evaluate chemicals,” and that the updates were made “based on public input we received during the initial comment period.” 

On March 22, 2019, EPA made 24 full study reports on PV29 available to the public, in some instances with information withheld as confidential business information (CBI) pursuant to EPA regulations.  EPA has considered these materials in the risk evaluation process of PV29 and has also submitted these materials to the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC).  EPA states that comments submitted will be considered by the agency and also provided to the TSCA SACC peer review panel, which will have the opportunity to consider the comments during its discussions. 

The comment period for the draft risk evaluation of CI PV29 closed on January 14, 2019, but via this notice is being extended.  The Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the updated systematic review supplemental files lists a comment deadline of the same date as the notice -- April 17, 2019, but Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0604-0038, however, lists a comment deadline of May 17, 2019; it is most likely that the docket is correct in this instance especially considering that follows what was stated by Ms. Dunn in her blog item that in light of the new and updated information EPA has recently released, "we will be reopening the public comment on the draft risk evaluation for PV29. It is important that the public have the opportunity to provide input on all of the information EPA is considering before our risk evaluation is finalized, so we invite you to provide us with your feedback. The public comment period will reopen for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.” 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On April 11, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was partnering with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) International Science Consortium to host a public webinar related to meeting the goal of reducing, refining, or replacing vertebrate animal testing as stipulated in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act that amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), specifically New Approaches for Respiratory Sensitization, set for April 24, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT)Registration is required.  The speakers are Steve Enoch, Ph.D., Liverpool John Moores University, who will be presenting “Chemistry-based Approaches for Identifying Respiratory Sensitizers”; and Arno Gutleb, Ph.D., Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, who will be presenting “In Vitro Models to Identify Respiratory Sensitizers.”

The two other webinars in this Webinar Series on the Use of New Approach Methodologies (NAM) in Risk Assessment already took place; the first one was Skin Sensitization Testing and the second one was MPPD and CFD Modeling to Predict Dosimetry of Inhaled Substances.  EPA states that these webinars on the use of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in Risk Assessment are part of EPA meeting commitments identified in EPA’s Strategic Plan to Promote the Development and Implementation of Alternative Test Methods, required by amended TSCA.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On March 11, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Justification of Appropriation Estimates for the Committee on Appropriations.  EPA’s budget request reduces the overall budget by $2.76 billion (31 percent), to $6.068 billion, but requests $66.418 million to support its Chemical Risk Review and Reduction (CRRR) program, an increase of $5.313 million. 

EPA zeros out the other programs under Toxics Risk Review and Prevention, however, including the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), the Pollution Prevention (P2) program, and the Lead Risk Reduction Program.  EPA states that it will “absorb the remaining functions [of the EDSP] within the Pesticides Program using the currently available tiered testing battery,”  “continue to meet core statutory requirements under the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 in other programs,” and that “lead paint certifications will continue under the [CRRR] Program.”

In its budget, EPA states that “the resources requested by EPA will support continued implementation of the amendments to [the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)], with emphasis on the critical mandates and timelines applicable to pre-market review of new chemicals, chemical risk evaluation and management, review and determinations on incoming [confidential business information (CBI)] claims, and other statutory priorities.”  EPA anticipates an increased workload to support these efforts in FY 2020 as the Agency reaches statutory deadlines to conclude the first ten risk evaluations for existing chemicals, and initiate risk management regulatory actions as necessary.  As part of this work load, EPA lists its primary TSCA implementation activities under Sections 4, 5, 6, 14; its other TSCA mandates and activities under Section 8; and the information technology systems being developed in support of TSCA implementation, all of which are extensive.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Carla N. Hutton

On April 5, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that will establish final significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 13 chemical substances that are the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN).  84 Fed. Reg. 13531. The final rule is significant because the 13 chemical substances are not also subject to consent orders.  During the review, EPA identified certain reasonably foreseen conditions of use that it designated as significant new uses in the final SNURs.  The final SNURs effectively prohibit the designated new use unless a person submits a notice to EPA, EPA makes a determination, and it takes any necessary action to mitigate any identified potential risk.  The final rule will become effective on June 4, 2019.  Please see our full memorandum for more information on this final rule.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and Carla N. Hutton

On March 27, 2019, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on “EPA’s IRIS Program:  Reviewing its Progress and Roadblocks Ahead.”  The hearing focused on issues with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program, as described in two recent reports issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Chemical Assessments:  Status of EPA’s Efforts to Produce Assessments and Implement the Toxic Substances Control Act (Chemical Assessments Report) and High-Risk Series:  Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater Progress on High-Risk Areas (High-Risk Report).  Please see our full memorandum for more information on what transpired at the hearing, including some background and commentary. 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On March 22, 2019, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) issued a memorandum stating that it was releasing 24 studies in the Colour Index (C.I.) Pigment Violet (PV) 29 docket (Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0604) that were reviewed by EPA to develop its Draft Risk Evaluation for C.I. PV 29.  EPA states that these studies are being made available to the public prior to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) expert panel peer review of the draft risk evaluation.  That entirety of the reports was originally erroneously claimed to be confidential business information (CBI), therefore, the reports were not included in the public docket previously.   Fifteen of the study reports have been released without any redactions while nine reports were partially redacted.  EPA provides a full list of the studies and their confidential status in the memorandum.  The 24 study reports represent the following disciplines:  #1-17 Human Health; #18-20 Environmental Hazard; #21-22 Environmental Fate, and #23-24 Physical Chemical properties.  Twenty of the 29 studies made available in the dockets were summarized in the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) registration dossier for C.I. PV 29; EPA refers to them as “robust summaries” and states that it has compared the information contained in the robust summaries against the information contained in the study reports for accuracy.  They were posted to the docket in November 2018. 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On March 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was releasing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process required by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  New TSCA requires EPA to designate 20 chemicals as “high-priority” for subsequent risk evaluation and 20 chemicals as “low-priority,” meaning that risk evaluation is not warranted at this time.  The 20 high priority candidate chemicals include:

  • Seven chlorinated solvents;
  • Six phthalates;
  • Four flame retardants;
  • Formaldehyde (which has been studied by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program for many years);
  • A fragrance additive; and
  • A polymer pre-curser.

EPA is also currently determining whether to conduct a risk evaluation of two additional phthalates.  The 20 low priority candidate chemicals have been selected from EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, which includes chemicals that have been evaluated and determined to meet EPA's safer choice criteria. 

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, stated that initiating a chemical for high or low prioritization “does not mean EPA has determined it poses unreasonable risk or no risk to human health or the environment,” however.  EPA states that is it releasing this list “to provide the public an opportunity to submit relevant information such as the uses, hazards, and exposure for these chemicals.”  EPA is scheduled to publish the notice regarding this list in the Federal Register on March 21, 2019.  The pre-publication notice is available here.  Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.  EPA is opening a docket for each of the 40 chemicals.  EPA is then directed to complete the prioritization process in the next nine to 12 months, allowing EPA to designate 20 chemicals as high priority and 20 chemicals as low priority. 

Please be on the lookout for our memorandum that will contain more information regarding EPA’s list.  It will be posted on our Regulatory Developments webpage.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On March 18, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new tools intended to help companies, organizations, and individuals fulfill their reporting requirements under the mercury reporting requirements rule.  Those required to report under the mercury rule can now do so online through the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application accessed through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX).  EPA states that it designed this reporting tool “to be user-friendly, with drop-down menus and lists of check-box options, to help make reporting easy and efficient.”  As reported in our June 25, 2018, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Final Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory,” the mercury rule applies to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides).  EPA will use data from the 2018 reporting year for the 2020 mercury inventory.  The 2018 reporting year is from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and the submission deadline for the 2018 reporting year is July 1, 2019.  Based on the information collected, EPA will identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury and recommend actions to achieve further reductions in mercury use.  More information is available in our memorandum.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On March 15, 2019, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule prohibiting the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal, including distribution to and by retailers; requiring manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of methylene chloride for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions; and requiring recordkeeping.  The rule states that EPA has determined that “the use of methylene chloride in consumer paint and coating removal presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health due to acute human lethality.”  This final rule does not prohibit the use of methylene chloride in commercial paint and coating removal, however.  EPA is instead soliciting comment, through an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) also signed by Administrator Wheeler on March 15, 2019, on questions related to a potential training, certification, and limited access program as an option for risk management for all of the commercial uses of methylene chloride in paint and coating removal.  More information will be available on these issuances in a forthcoming memorandum to be available on our Regulatory Developments webpage.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and Carla N. Hutton

GAO released on March 6, 2019, a report entitled High-Risk Series:  Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater Progress on High-Risk Areas.  GAO’s high-risk program identifies government operations with vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or in need of transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.  GAO’s report describes the status of high-risk areas and outlines actions necessary to assure further progress.  GAO states that in the two years since its last high-risk report, three areas, including “Transforming EPA’s Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals,” have regressed in their ratings against GAO’s criteria for removal from the High-Risk List.  GAO notes that since adding this area to its High-Risk List in 2009, it has made 12 recommendations to EPA related to the IRIS Program and TSCA.  According to GAO, while EPA has taken steps to manage chemicals that pose risks to human health and the environment, leadership and implementation challenges remain.  More information is available in B&C’s March 8, 2019, memorandum, “EPA’s Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals Remains on GAO’s High-Risk List.”


 
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