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

On October 26, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule on reporting requirements for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mercury inventory.  82 Fed. Reg. 49564.  Under TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(B), the mercury inventory, which includes mercury “supply, use, and trade” in the United States, is required to be published every three years.  Information on the 2017 mercury inventory report is available in our blog item "EPA Releases Inventory Report of Mercury Supply, Use, and Trade in the U.S."

Through this proposed rule, EPA is on its way to delivering timely on its mandate under TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(D) to promulgate a rule within two years of the enactment of new TSCA (by June 22, 2018) that will require “any person who manufactures [including import] mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process” to make periodic reports to EPA to assist in the preparation of the mercury inventory. 

TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(C) further directs to “identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury; and … recommend actions, including proposed revisions of Federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use.”  The proposed rule, however, states that “[a]t this time, EPA is not making such identifications or recommendations.” 

The proposed rule requests comments on several changes, including:

  • On the proposed limited data collection requirements, such as the identification of countries that manufacture, import, or export mercury-added products (i.e., countries of origin and destination), as well as the identification of purchasing or receiving industry sectors via North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes, to inform activities under the Minamata Convention on Mercury;
  • On whether to require one-time reporting for exports of the mercury compounds prohibited from export under TSCA Section 12(c)(7);
  • On its proposal to apply the proposed reporting requirements to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury, mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process regardless of the amount of mercury at issue;
  • On its proposal that because of the similarities in the intentional addition of mercury to manufacture a product and otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process, all quantities of mercury used in both activities should be reported without a reporting threshold;
  • On what kinds of information would be particularly important to address for small entities if EPA were to develop compliance guides tailored to small entities that will be required to comply with the reporting requirements;
  • On whether the proposed reporting requirements should apply to persons who do not manufacture or import mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process, but engage in the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States; and
  • On its proposal to require mandatory electronic reporting.

EPA also requests comments on the proposed timelines and reporting deadlines; and on the proposed interpretations of activities to be considered as part of supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States -- as described below.

For those who will need to report, EPA proposes the following reporting periods and deadlines:

  • The 2020 reporting year will be from January 1 to December 31, 2018; subsequent recurring reporting years will be from January 1 to December 31 at three-year intervals beginning in 2021;
  • All information reported for an applicable reporting year must be submitted on or before the first day of July following the reporting year.  The 2020 submission deadline is July 1, 2019; subsequent recurring submission deadlines are from July 1, in three-year intervals, beginning in 2022.

EPA’s proposed interpretations of activities to be considered as part of the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States are as follows:

  • Import of mercury or a mercury added product with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage for the importer, except where such mercury is generated as a byproduct not used for commercial purposes or an impurity.
  • Manufacture (other than import) of mercury or a mercury-added product with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage for the manufacturer, except where such mercury is generated as a byproduct not used for commercial purposes or an impurity. In this context, EPA considers manufacture to be the intentional production of mercury, a mercury compound, or a mercury-added product.
  • Otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process, other than the manufacture of a mercury compound or a mercury-added product, with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage for the user, except where such mercury is generated as a byproduct not used for commercial purposes.
  • Distribution in commerce, including domestic sale or transfer, of mercury or a mercury-added product.
  • Storage of mercury after manufacture (including import).
  • Export of mercury or a mercury-added product, including the determining and controlling the sending of mercury (unless specifically prohibited) or a mercury-added product to a destination out of the customs territory of the United States.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by December 26, 2017.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On May 1, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register stating it was reopening and extending the comment period for two proposed rules:  (1) to prohibit the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of TCE for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping (issued January 19, 2017); and (2) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal; to prohibit the use of methylene chloride and NMP in these commercial uses; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of methylene chloride and NMP for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require recordkeeping (issued January 19, 2017).  82 Fed. Reg. 20310.

This is the second extension of the comment period for the proposed rule to ban TCE use in vapor degreasing and the first extension of the comment period for the proposed rule to ban the uses of NMP and methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal.  Comments on both proposed rules are now due on May 19, 2017.  


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On February 9, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was extending the comment period for the two recently proposed rules issued under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to ban certain uses of trichloroethylene (TCE):  proposed rule to ban certain uses of TCE in aerosol degreasing and as a spot cleaner in dry cleaning facilities (issued December 16, 2017); and proposed rule to regulate the use of TCE in vapor degreasing (issued January 19, 2017).  EPA is extending the comment period for the proposed ban on TCE as an aerosol degreaser and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities from the initial deadline of February 14, 2017, to March 16, 2017, and for the proposed ban on TCE as a commercial vapor degreaser from the initial deadline of March 20, 2017, to April 19, 2017.  EPA did not state any information on why it was extending the deadline, but requests for extensions were filed in both dockets.

More information on the proposed rules is available in our memorandum EPA Proposes Regulation of TCE Use in Vapor Degreasing under TSCA Section 6(a) and in our blog item EPA Proposes Prohibiting Use of TCE.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published three Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) proposed framework rules:  TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements (Jan. 13, 2017); Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (Jan. 17, 2017); and Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation Under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act (Jan. 19, 2017).  Summaries, insights, and commentary from B&C’s TSCA experts on these rules are available in memoranda on the B&C website.  Below please find links to the memoranda:

B&C’s experts have also recently written up summaries and analysis related to the following other TSCA-related rulemakings:


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. HuttonCharles M. Auer, and Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish a proposed rule in the January 17, 2017, Federal Register that would establish a risk-based screening process and criteria that EPA will use to identify chemical substances as either High-Priority Substances for risk evaluation, or Low-Priority Substances for which risk evaluations are not warranted at the time.  The pre-publication version of the proposed rule describes the processes for identifying potential candidates for prioritization, selecting a candidate, screening that candidate against certain criteria, formally initiating the prioritization process, providing opportunities for public comment, and proposing and finalizing designations of priority.  EPA notes that prioritization is the initial step in a new process of existing chemical substance review and risk management activity established under recent amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Publication of the notice will begin a 60-day comment period.  More information on the final rule will be available in our forthcoming memorandum, which will be available on our website under the key phrase TSCA.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and Margaret R. Graham

On December 7, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would be issuing a rule proposing to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of trichloroethylene (TCE) for certain uses under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), due to its determination that there are significant health risks associated with TCE use in aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities.  The proposed action is significant for several reasons, including that it represents the first use in a very long time of TSCA Section 6 as well as the first Section 6 control action taken under new TSCA.  Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit the use of TCE in “aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities; to prohibit commercial use of TCE for aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping.”  We look forward to a close reading of the proposed rule and to evaluating the arguments, the policy points, and the evidence provided by EPA to satisfy the various legal requirements, including those under Section 6(c) and Section 26.

EPA’s online Fact Sheet on TCE lists questions and answers as related to the proposed rule.  In response to Question 3, What are the potential risks of TCE to people?, EPA states that its 2014 risk assessment found TCE to be “carcinogenic to people through all routes of exposure, which include inhalation, dermal (skin), and ingestion.”  The pre-publication of the proposed rule is available on EPA’s website.  Once it has been published in the Federal Register, comments must be submitted within 60 days of publication.