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 Carla N. Hutton

On May 12, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule relating to the assertion and maintenance of confidential business information (CBI) claims under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 87 Fed. Reg. 29078. EPA states in its May 12, 2022, press release that the proposed rule includes new and amended requirements that, if made final, would increase transparency, modernize reporting and review procedures, and ensure consistency with the 2016 amendments to TSCA. In addition to providing increased clarity for TSCA submitters, EPA expects the changes to allow it to review and make determinations on CBI claims more efficiently, meeting the statutory review deadline in TSCA and more promptly making required notifications to submitters of claims. Comments are due July 11, 2022.

The proposed rule includes:

Provisions Intended to Increase Transparency

  • Changes intended to ensure that the existence and scope of a CBI claim is clear and limited to information the submitter views as confidential;
  • A provision to address inappropriate or overly broad CBI claims in public copies of TSCA submissions, especially health and safety related information, that specifies a process for the submitter to correct promptly those issues early in the CBI review and that EPA would promptly deny any remaining inappropriate claims. These changes are expected to remove ambiguity about the scope or validity of claims, permitting more rapid review of valid CBI claims and public access to non-CBI information.
  • Expanded requirements for electronic reporting and uniform requirements to provide publicly releasable copies of certain documents, such as scientific studies, both of which would make more data available to the public more quickly.
  • Requirements for electronic communication and maintaining current and accurate contact information to ensure more prompt delivery of required notices to submitters of CBI claims, thereby permitting EPA to make information for which CBI claims have been withdrawn, denied, or expired available to the public more quickly.

Provisions Intended to Modernize CBI Procedures and Ensure Consistency with Amended TSCA

  • Clear and uniform guidance on requirements for assertion and maintenance of CBI claims, including a standard set of substantiation questions used to support a CBI claim.
  • Requirements for electronic reporting of virtually all CBI claims, with enhancements to reporting tools that will prevent or mitigate common procedural errors EPA has observed to:
    • Ensure better procedural requirements for asserting a claim are met (with built-in certification and validation features for substantiation and generic names);
    • Articulate better and more narrowly the confidential information that is being claimed; and
    • Clarify CBI provisions that apply to individual data elements, such as where CBI claims are not permitted or where upfront CBI substantiation is not required to support a claim.
  • Establishment of a new section of the TSCA regulations to consolidate and standardize how TSCA CBI claims must be asserted and substantiated.
  • Requirements that health and safety information be submitted using an appropriate Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Harmonized Template (when available), a format that will allow data to be more readily used and shared within EPA while allowing submitters to indicate CBI claims more clearly for EPA consideration.

EPA seeks public comment on all aspects of the proposed rule and the Economic Analysis prepared in support of it. In addition to specific requests for comment included throughout the proposed rule, EPA invites specific comment on:

  • EPA’s interpretation of the coverage of TSCA Section 14(a) (proposed Section 703.1) and how this may impact submitters of information to EPA under other statutes, such as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA states that it is particularly interested in comments on the treatment of FIFRA studies on inert ingredients under TSCA Section 14(b)(2).
  • The applicability of the proposed new or revised requirements to submissions received before the effective date of the subsequent final rule. Specifically, EPA requests comment on whether each proposed new or revised requirement should apply only to submissions received on or after the effective date of the final rule; to all submissions received on or after the effective date of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) amendments; or to all submissions regardless of submission date.
  • The proposed substantiation questions (proposed Section 703.5(b)), especially the proposal to omit a trade secrets-specific question; on how the patents question might be modified to elicit more pertinent information; and comment on the alternative substantial competitive harm question.
  • The proposed list of information that might be included with health and safety information, but that might be permissible to withhold as confidential (proposed Section 703.5(b)(6)). EPA is also interested in comment on alternatives to the proposal that might better ensure that health and safety information is not inappropriately treated as confidential.
  • The proposed approach to CBI claim deficiencies (proposed Section 703.5(e)) and on alternative approaches.
  • Whether submitting templated data should be required (proposed Section 703.5(g)).
  • The option of requiring TSCA submitters to update their original submission to reflect CBI claims that have been withdrawn or denied (proposed Section 703.5(j)).
  • Selection of the representative subset, including possible alternative representative selection methods (proposed Section 703.7).
  • Whether bona fide or pre-notice inquiries or correspondence should be considered part of a representative subset of TSCA submissions (proposed Section 703.7).
  • On the proposed approach to determining when a TSCA Section 14(g) CBI review period begins and how amendments to the submission are included in the review (proposed Section 703.7).
  • The proposed and alternative possible approaches to efficiently developing an acceptable generic name for purposes of listing on the TSCA Inventory, as described in proposed Sections 720.102 and 725.190.
  • On how to incorporate whether a substance may be readily reverse engineered into EPA’s substantive review criteria in proposed Section 703.7(f).

Our forthcoming memoranda will include a detailed summary of the proposed rule and an insightful commentary.

Tags: CBI

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On January 20, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concerning the procedures for submitting information subject to business confidentiality claims under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to an item in the fall 2021 Unified Agenda, EPA is considering proposing new and amended rules concerning the assertion and maintenance of claims of business confidentiality (i.e., confidential business information (CBI)) under TSCA. The 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) amendments included several new provisions concerning the assertion and EPA review and treatment of confidentiality claims. The Unified Agenda item states that EPA is considering procedures for submitting and supporting such claims in TSCA submissions, including substantiation requirements, exemptions, electronic reporting enhancements, and maintenance or withdrawal of confidentiality claims. EPA is also considering whether the proposed rule should also elaborate on its procedures for reviewing and communicating with TSCA submitters about confidentiality claims. EPA expects the proposed rule to include new provisions, as well as revisions to existing rules on asserting confidentiality claims to conform to the 2016 TSCA amendments.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

As reported in our April 30, 2021, blog item, on April 29, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a list of 390 chemicals that it states are “expected to lose their confidential status and move to the public portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory, furthering the agency’s commitment to data transparency.” EPA announced on May 14, 2021, that it is extending the notification deadline to June 30, 2021. According to EPA, the American Chemistry Council and BASF requested additional time to review the list of 390 chemicals. EPA states that concerns were expressed over the potential that some of the chemicals overlap with those reported under the Active-Inactive rule and the perception that EPA relied only on 2020 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule submissions to identify these chemicals.

According to EPA, in regard to the industry concerns that it relied solely on 2020 CDR submissions, it plans to declassify the specific identities of these chemicals because one or more manufacturers reported the chemicals as non-confidential during the 2012, 2016, and/or 2020 CDR reporting periods -- “meaning that at least one manufacturer did not request that each of the chemical identities be kept confidential, effectively saying it is not a secret that the chemical is in U.S. commerce.” EPA states that additionally, it did an “extensive review” of each individual instance in which confidential status was not requested for these chemical identities to confirm the accuracy of the list.

EPA acknowledges that some of the chemicals may also have been reported or subject to reporting under the Active-Inactive rule, which required companies to identify chemicals manufactured, imported, or processed in the United States during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016. Although EPA is aware that there may have been submitter confusion and questions regarding confidentiality claims during the initial reporting period, it states that for each of the 390 chemicals, “there is also one or more independent CDR-based (and EPA-validated) reasons to consider the chemical identities to be no longer eligible for inclusion on the confidential portion of the Inventory.” EPA intends to update the TSCA Inventory listings for these chemicals to list the specific chemical identities on the public portion of the Inventory during summer 2021.

EPA states that stakeholders with interest, questions, or concerns about this change in confidential status may contact the EPA staff listed on its webpage no later than June 30, 2021. Stakeholders should review the list of substances and ensure that none of those substances is of critical importance to maintain confidential status.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On April 29, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a list of 390 chemicals that it states are “expected to lose their confidential status and move to the public portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory, furthering the agency’s commitment to data transparency.”  According to EPA, the specific identities of these chemicals were reported as non-confidential during Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) cycles from the 2012, 2016, and/or 2020 reporting periods.  In accordance with the CDR rule and with TSCA Sections 8 and 14, EPA intends to update the TSCA Inventory listings for these chemicals to list the specific chemical identities on the public portion of the Inventory.  Stakeholders should check the list of substances and ensure that none of those substances is of critical importance to maintain confidential status.  Stakeholders with interest, questions, or concerns about this change in confidential status may contact the listed EPA staff no later than May 14, 2021.  EPA expects to include the specific chemical identities of these 390 chemicals in the next routine publication of the public TSCA Inventory, anticipated in late summer 2021.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on February 8, 2021, a periodic update of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) confidential business information (CBI) review statistics.  TSCA Section 14(g)(1) requires that EPA, within 90 days of receipt of a CBI claim:

  • Review and make determinations on CBI claims for chemical identity after the chemical substance has been offered for commercial distribution; and
  • Review and make determinations on a representative subset of at least 25% of other CBI claims that are not exempt from substantiation and review.

The updated data summarize the number of CBI cases under review and results of completed reviews through December 28, 2020.  In addition, a spreadsheet is available showing the details of completed TSCA CBI determinations through December 28, 2020.
EPA states that making this information publicly available continues to demonstrate its commitment to transparency while fulfilling its responsibilities under TSCA.  EPA notes that it has established numerous new processes, systems, and procedures to enable submitters to provide the information required when making confidentiality claims and to facilitate EPA’s review, and where applicable, determinations on these claims.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On January 12, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that advances collaboration and communication on EPA’s review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA states that the MOU provides a framework for coordination and communication between the two agencies on exposure to new chemicals in the workplace and will help achieve the agencies’ shared goal of ensuring workers are protected from potential health and environmental risks.  As required by TSCA, EPA and OSHA are collaborating on workplace exposures as part of EPA’s review of new chemicals.  The MOU formalizes coordination efforts that EPA and OSHA have already implemented and provides a framework for additional opportunities for collaboration.  Highlights of the MOU include:

  • Establishing designated staff and management points of contact from each agency to discuss and resolve workplace exposure issues related to EPA’s review of new chemicals;
  • Providing OSHA with regular updates on EPA’s new chemical determinations, including any necessary worker protection identified during EPA’s review; and
  • Documenting EPA’s role in identifying and notifying OSHA of the need for formal consultation on EPA’s review of new chemicals.

More information will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 5, 2021, that it is reopening the reporting period under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory notification active-inactive rule where companies identified chemicals that were manufactured, imported, or processed in the United States during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016.  As reported in our June 26, 2017, memorandum, “EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules,” the final TSCA Inventory notification (active-inactive) rule established a retrospective electronic notification of chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory that were manufactured (including imported) for nonexempt commercial purposes during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016, with provision to also allow notification by processors.  From August 11, 2017, through October 5, 2018, chemical manufacturers and processors provided information on which chemicals were manufactured, imported, or processed in the United States over the past ten years.  The reporting period included an opportunity for submitters to assert claims to retain specific chemical identities as confidential business information (CBI).  In May 2020, EPA posted an interim list of chemicals expected to lose their CBI status and move to the public portion of the TSCA Inventory.  In its January 5, 2021, announcement, EPA states that it since become aware of “submitter confusion and issues regarding CBI claims” during the initial reporting period.  EPA is allowing companies to submit, amend, or withdraw filings under the TSCA Inventory notification (active-inactive) rule to maintain existing CBI claims for specific chemical identity.  The reporting period will reopen 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and run for 60 days after that date.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On October 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminded companies that if they filed a retrospective activity notice (Notice of Activity (NOA) Form A) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule and claimed the specific chemical identity as confidential business information (CBI), they have until November 1, 2020, to submit or amend their CBI substantiations.  Companies that amend, update, or file new CBI substantiations must do so electronically via EPA’s Central Data Exchange.

Background

On March 6, 2020, EPA promulgated a final rule on procedures for review of CBI claims made under TSCA.  The final rule includes the requirements for regulated entities to substantiate certain CBI claims made under TSCA to protect the specific chemical identities of chemical substances on the confidential portion of the TSCA Inventory, and EPA’s plan for reviewing certain CBI claims for specific chemical identities.  The substantiation requirements describe the applicable procedures and provide instructions for regulated entities.  EPA sets out the review criteria and related procedures that it will use to complete the reviews within the five-year timeframe set in TSCA.  More information is available in our February 28, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Releases Final Rule on Procedures for Review of CBI Claims for the Identity of Chemicals on the TSCA Inventory.”

Tags: CBI, NOA, Inventory

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on August 11, 2020, its quarterly update of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) confidential business information (CBI) review statistics.  These data summarize the number of CBI cases under review and results of completed reviews through June 15, 2020:

CBI Review Statistics (cases received between June 22, 2016 and June 15, 2020)
Cases in which the specific chemical identity is subject to CBI review 3,326
Cases in which information other than the specific chemical identity is subject to CBI review 2,523
Cases in which both the specific chemical identity and information other than the specific chemical identity is subject to CBI review 734
Total cases subject to CBI review 6,583

 

Cases resulting in final CBI determinations
Cases with all CBI claims subject to review, approved 882
Cases with all CBI claims subject to review, denied 602
Cases with CBI claims subject to review, approved-in-part/denied-in-part 97
Total cases resulting in final CBI determinations 1,581

 

Cases reviewed with no final CBI determination necessary
Cases with all CBI claims screened and found to be exempt from review 1,078
Cases with all CBI claims withdrawn by submitter 430
Cases identified for CBI review, for which no determination required (e.g., in some instances, older EPA information systems do not specifically identify which information is claimed as CBI and upon review, it is determined that no claims require review) 1,500
Total cases reviewed/screened with no final CBI determination necessary 3,008

 

Cases currently undergoing CBI review
Cases currently undergoing CBI review 1,994

 
In August 2020, EPA published an updated list of cases with completed CBI reviews under TSCA Section 14.  The spreadsheet includes the results of completed CBI determinations and cases with approved claims for specific chemical identity for which unique identifiers have been assigned.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On May 29, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updated data collected during the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) period.  EPA notes that the updated 2016 CDR data now include information that was previously classified as confidential business information (CBI), such as aggregate production volumes and site-specific production volumes.  EPA published an initial release of the 2016 CDR data in May 2017.  The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were signed into law during the 2016 CDR submission period and changed CDR CBI reporting requirements.  EPA states that as a result, it conducted “a thorough substantiation and verification process with companies that submitted 2016 CDR data.”  According to EPA, this process allowed it to determine which claims met the new legal standard and ensure that valid CBI claims remained protected.

Background

On March 17, 2020, EPA announced the availability of a final rule amending the CDR rule.  EPA states that some of the key revisions include simplifying reporting, including allowing manufacturers to use certain processing and use data codes already in use by many chemical manufacturers as part of international codes developed through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); updating requirements for asserting confidentiality claims to align with the requirements in amended TSCA; and adding reporting exemptions for specific types of byproducts manufactured in certain equipment.  Additionally, EPA is extending the reporting period for CDR data submitters from September 30, 2020, to November 30, 2020, to provide additional time for the regulated community to familiarize themselves with the amendments and to allow time for reporters to familiarize themselves with an updated public version of the reporting tool.  More information is available in our March 19, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Releases Final Amendments to CDR Rule, Extends Reporting Period.”

Our May 13, 2020, blog item, “New Reporting Procedure for Co-Manufacturers under TSCA CDR Rule May Catch Certain Manufacturers Off Guard,” notes that EPA has changed the way that toll manufacturing must be reported.  In this cycle, EPA will not accept reporting from only the contracting manufacturer in situations where a company contracts with another company (i.e., a toll manufacturer) for the production of chemicals.  In 2020, EPA has stated in multiple fora that for the 2020 reporting period, EPA will only accept manufacturing details from the actual producers, even if manufacturing was contracted by another company.  This change may come as a surprise, especially to producing companies that heretofore may not have reported under the CDR rule and instead relied on the contracting company to do so.

Tags: CBI, CDR

 
 1 2 3 >  Last ›