By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change announced on March 6, 2019, that it will hold a hearing on March 13, 2019, on “Mismanaging Chemical Risks: EPA’s Failure to Protect Workers.” The Subcommittee will address how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “is systemically ignoring worker risks in its implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act and other worker protections.” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) stated that protecting vulnerable populations is an essential part of EPA’s mission, but under the Trump Administration, EPA “has systematically undervalued or completely overlooked the risks workers face from exposure to chemicals on the job. Workers should not have to choose between their health and their jobs.” Information for the hearing, including the Majority Memorandum, witness list and testimony, and a live webcast, will be posted on the hearing web page as they become available.
By Kathleen M. Roberts, Jason E. Johnston, M.S., Sheryl Lindros Dolan, and Margaret R. Graham
On June 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a preparatory meeting for experts selected to serve as letter peer reviewers for EPA's Exposure and Use Assessment and Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary for five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals. A list of those chemicals is available here. Although the meeting was scheduled for four hours, it adjourned after only two hours, as there were only a few questions from peer reviewers and only two outside stakeholders providing oral comments. Below are some highlights/takeaways from the meeting:
- All five PBT chemicals being reviewed scored high for hazard;
- Two PBT chemicals were pulled from EPA action under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 6 because manufacturers requested risk evaluations for them prior to the September 19, 2016, deadline;
- Four of the PBT chemicals scored high or moderate for exposure; one scored low (pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP));
- For exposure assessment, EPA split up information as “core exposure data” or “supplemental exposure data”: core exposure data would be environmental data, monitoring, biomonitoring, modeled concentrations, or modeled dose; and supplemental exposure data would be environmental fate, engineering data, or other information related to exposure information or pathways;
- EPA identified exposure scenarios -- looking at source/use, environmental pathways, and receptors;
- EPA did not conduct any new modeling on the chemicals but did use modeled data from published literature;
- EPA did not conduct an exhaustive literature search, review, or assessment of hazard data, it used data readily available, as described in the Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary; the EPA document “Supplemental Information for the Exposure and Use Assessment of Five Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic Chemicals” outlines the literature search process used for exposure data; and
- Exposure scenarios include both quantitative and qualitative information.
No written comments were submitted prior to the peer review webinar. Only three people signed up for oral comments, and one was not present online. The two public commenters noted concerns regarding the likelihood of exposure, including the potential for accidental exposures; the lack of EPA focus on susceptible subpopulations; EPA’s intent not to address exposures that are already regulated under other EPA programs; and the need to assess the risk of bias.
Per the language in amended TSCA, EPA must issue risk management proposals to reduce exposures to the extent practicable by June 19, 2019.
Any public comments submitted by July 23, 2018, will be shared with peer reviewers. Comments submitted between July 23, 2018, and August 17, 2018, will be available to EPA for consideration. All comments are due by August 17, 2018. A recording of the webinar, slides, and other materials from the meeting will be posted in Docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0314. There are currently six supporting documents posted:
Stay up-to-date on TSCA implementation issues via our Recent Regulatory Developments web page and our TSCAblog.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On May 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would host a half-day preparatory meeting for experts selected to serve as letter peer reviewers for EPA’s Exposure and Use Assessment and Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary for Five Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals. Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) directs EPA to issue regulations under Section 6(a) for certain PBT chemical substances that were identified in EPA’s TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments: 2014 update. The selected chemicals are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DECA);
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD);
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP);
- Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1) (PIP3/ITPP); and
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl) phenol (2, 4, 6 TRIS).
EPA prepared an Exposure and Use Assessment and a Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary in response to the requirements under TSCA Section 6(h) to summarize conclusions of toxicity and whether there is likely exposure to these PBT chemicals and EPA organized letter peer reviews for the Exposure and Use Assessment and the Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary. The Federal Register notice announcing the meeting states that during the preparatory meeting, “the individual letter peer reviewers will have the opportunity to comment on and ask questions regarding the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions.” EPA’s background papers, related supporting materials, and charge/questions for these letter peer reviews are now available in Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0314 on www.regulations.gov.
The meeting is scheduled for June 25, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) and will be held via teleconference and webcast only. Registration is available online. Those requesting to provide oral comments (approximately five minutes) are asked to register by June 21, 2018. Though the peer reviewers may not be able to consider fully written comments submitted after July 23, 2018, EPA will consider all comments submitted on or before August 17, 2018.
More information, including the list of experts, is available on EPA’s TSCA Peer Review website.