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
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 19, 2022, the availability of the meeting minutes and final report for the March 15-17, 2022, Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) virtual meeting regarding EPA’s proposed Screening Level Approach for Assessing Ambient Air and Water Exposures to Fenceline Communities Version 1.0 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to the meeting minutes and final report, SACC “agreed that the methodological document was well organized and generally well written.” SACC states that it “had difficulty reproducing results that were relevant to understanding and reviewing the document and indicated multiple limitations and uncertainties,” however. SACC suggested the methodology could only be used as part of a tiered approach to evaluate risk to fenceline communities and should not be used to evaluate risks in isolation. The screening level approach may be protective for the specific exposure pathways included, but it may not be protective overall because potential key exposure pathways are excluded and because it does not consider cumulative exposures, multiple source exposures, aggregate exposures, and double/aggregate and occupational exposures from workers living near and working at the facilities. Some SACC members also suggested that additional risk factors, such as stress, poverty, cultural practices, and diet, should be considered for a comprehensive assessment.
 
The meeting minutes and final report states that the accuracy and/or completeness of the data used to develop the screening analysis were not adequately supported in the document, and SACC decided it did not defensibly represent actual exposure of fenceline communities. Overall, SACC indicated the basis for several model inputs was insufficiently transparent and that, in particular, daily life activities of all communities disproportionately impacted by chemical exposures was missing in this current version. SACC recommended the term “fenceline” be refined to include the characteristics, behaviors, and realities of communities exposed through means that are not dependent on being within a limited radius from a chemical facility. SACC agreed that Version 1 of the screening tool for fenceline communities “is currently not adequate for evaluating potential exposures relevant to tribes, indigenous populations, subsistence lifestyles, cultural practices, or other unique circumstances. The pathways by which people in unique communities are exposed to chemicals of the contaminated areas are much broader than those represented in the current defining criteria of ‘Fenceline Communities.’” To make the tool applicable for any unique community, the meeting minutes and final report state that additional exposure scenarios and relevant data must be applied.
 
SACC recommended that knowledgeable community representatives “be intrinsically involved for perspective on how such information is applied in a screening endeavor, as well as the relevance and pedigree of values used to inform exposure algorithms, and relevance of default data and assumptions.” Complementary to this process is the need for enhanced and meaningful outreach to “fenceline communities” and all parties interested in these screens. SACC offered specific commentary and suggestions, along with a collection of references. A meeting transcript is available.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On May 12, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Strategy Team on Sustainable Chemistry will host the second webinar in a series regarding the team’s tasks of defining, assessing, and preparing a strategic plan in the area of sustainable chemistry in response to direction in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020. The presenters in the webinar will discuss the science, technology, and innovation needs of the chemical industries, including carbon capture, sustainable process design, and chemical separation technologies. Speakers will include:

  • Dionisios (Dion) G. Vlachos, University of Delaware;
  • Joan F. Brennecke, University of Texas at Austin; and
  • Jennifer Wilcox, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Registration is now open.

Tags: OSTP, NSTC, Webinar,

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

Register Today

A circular economy requires new thinking about what products we make, from which materials we make them, and where products go at the end of their useful life. An important but often overlooked aspect of new product development is an understanding of the consequences of the product’s chemical composition and the end-of-life implications of the decisions made at the front end of the process. Working within this framework plays a critical role in building a resilient, dependable, and sustainable system that fosters innovation to develop a circular economy. Register now to join Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Kate Sellers, and Mathy Stanislaus, as Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) presents “Domestic Chemical Regulation and Achieving Circularity.”

Topics Covered:

  • Achieving sustainability and the promise of the circular economy
  • Defining sustainable chemistry under the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act
  • Federal policy and Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulatory shifts intended to support sustainability and circularity
  • Transitioning chemicals from research and development (R&D) platforms into the market
  • Changes to TSCA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that affect chemical innovation

Speakers Include:

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, B&C, has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of how regulatory programs pertain to industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. She counsels corporations, trade associations, and business consortia on a wide range of issues pertaining to chemical hazard, exposure and risk assessment, risk communication, minimizing legal liability, and evolving regulatory and policy matters.

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, B&C, is a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is one of the most widely recognized experts in the field of green chemistry, having served as senior staff scientist in EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) and leader of EPA’s Green Chemistry Program. His expansive understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities that TSCA presents for green and sustainable chemistry is a powerful asset for clients as they develop and commercialize novel chemistries.

Kate Sellers, Technical Fellow at ERM, leads a multi-disciplinary team of professionals dedicated to helping companies recognize the business value of product stewardship. Over the past year, Kate has seen an uptick in several product sustainability trends, including implementation of the TSCA life-cycle assessment, circular economy programs, and sustainability initiatives. In addition to her consulting work, Kate teaches “Product Stewardship and Chemical Sustainability” at Harvard University

Mathy Stanislaus, was recently appointed as Vice Provost and Executive Director of Drexel University’s Environmental Collaboratory, bringing interdisciplinary expertise in environmental sciences, engineering, law, health, business, economics, policy, and humanities to co-design transformative environmental solutions. Stanislaus joined Drexel from the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), a multi-stakeholder initiative established at the World Economic Forum (WEF), where he served as its first interim director and policy director with a focus on establishing a global transparent data authentication system to scale up electric mobility and clean energy. He also led the establishment of the Platform for Accelerating Circular Economy at WEF. Mathy served for eight years as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Land & Emergency Management for the Obama Administration, leading programs to revitalize communities through the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites, hazardous and solid waste materials management, chemical plant safety, and oil spill prevention and emergency response. During this Administration, he led the establishment of the G7 Alliance for Resource Efficiency that focused on the opportunities in the supply chain to drive circularity and de-carbonization.

Register Now


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On March 15-17, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) to peer review EPA’s “Draft TSCA Screening Level Approach for Assessing Ambient Air and Water Exposures to Fenceline Communities Version 1.0” (screening methodology). As reported in our January 24, 2022, memorandum, EPA will use the screening methodology to evaluate potential chemical exposures and associated potential risks to fenceline communities in its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations. EPA presented its screening methodology, as well as the results of applying the screening methodology to 1-brompropane (air pathway), n-methylpyrrolidone (water pathway), and methylene chloride (air and water pathway). EPA will use the scientific advice, information, and recommendations from SACC, as well as public comments, to inform the final protocol. EPA has posted the following materials:


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 18, 2022, that it will hold a webinar on May 11, 2022, entitled “Data-Driven Solutions to Reducing Animal Use in Ecotoxicity.” Speakers will include:

  • Carlie LaLone, Ph.D., EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD), on “The Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility (SeqAPASS) Tool: Extrapolating Knowledge Computationally.” EPA states that regulatory decision-making for chemical safety relies upon toxicity data generated from laboratory test species for the protection of wildlife in the environment. Typically, ecological risk assessments integrate safety factors to account for interspecies variability. According to EPA, the SeqAPASS tool is a more informed way to extrapolate knowledge from model species to other species that does not require the use of animals in toxicity testing and instead uses existing protein sequence knowledge. LaLone will describe EPA’s SeqAPASS tool and its applications for cross-species extrapolation relative to understanding conservation of biology and predicting chemical susceptibility.
     
  • Michael Lowit, Ph.D., EPA Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), on “Exploring Potential Reductions in Fish Testing in a Regulatory Context.” According to EPA, as part of its commitment to reducing animal testing, OPP is conducting retrospective analyses of existing data to evaluate critically which EPA guideline studies form the basis of regulatory decisions. EPA states that the results from these analyses can inform if reductions can be made to the number of animals used without reducing the quality of ecological risk assessments. EPA is currently conducting a retrospective analysis for fish acute toxicity tests, which are used by OPP to assess potential risk to fish species from pesticides. For each pesticide, EPA typically requires in vivo testing of three different fish species. Lowit will focus on the relative sensitivity among species subjected to in vivo fish acute toxicity studies. The results of this analysis will inform whether there is a basis for reducing the number of species while providing sufficient information to support pesticide registration decisions.

The webinar is co-organized by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Science Consortium International, EPA, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). EPA notes that it does not necessarily endorse the views of the speakers. Registration is now open.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On March 28, 2022, the Biden Administration submitted to Congress President Biden’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2023. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) March 28, 2022, press release, the budget makes critical investments, including:

  • Strengthening EPA’s Commitment and Ability to Implement Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Successfully: The budget provides $124 million and 449 full time equivalents (FTE) for TSCA efforts “to deliver on the promises made to the American people by the bipartisan Lautenberg Act.” According to the budget, “[t]hese resources will support EPA-initiated chemical risk evaluations and protective regulations in accordance with statutory timelines.”
     
  • Tackling Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Pollution: PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that threaten the health and safety of communities across the United States. As part of the President’s commitment to tackling PFAS pollution, the budget provides approximately $126 million in FY 2023 for EPA to increase its understanding of human health and ecological effects of PFAS, restrict uses to prevent PFAS from entering the air, land, and water, and remediate PFAS that have been released into the environment. EPA states that it will continue to act on its PFAS Strategic Roadmap to safeguard communities from PFAS contamination.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
As reported in our February 28, 2022, blog item, on February 25, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is revoking the 1980 guidelines and associated procedures for correcting the specific chemical identities of incorrectly described chemical substances submitted to EPA in 1978 using the original reporting form for inclusion on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory. 87 Fed. Reg. 10781. On March 25, 2022, the TSCA New Chemicals Coalition (NCC) sent a letter to Michal Ilana Freedhoff, Ph.D., Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), regarding its concerns with the “phasing out” of the TSCA Inventory correction process. The NCC states that it believes EPA’s decision-making process “would benefit greatly from stakeholder input and urges EPA to suspend the phaseout set to occur on April 26, 2022, and to reconsider the revocation of the 1980 corrections guidelines set to occur May 31, 2022.” According to the NCC, “[‌b]oth decisions invite significant unintended consequences, and stakeholder comment may well provide information that could persuade EPA to go in a different direction.” The NCC urges EPA to address the issues outlined in its letter by suspending its decisions to revoke the guidelines and “phaseout” of the Inventory correction process and seeking comment on its plans.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safer Choice Program announced on March 28, 2022, that it is accepting submissions for its 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards. 87 Fed. Reg. 17287. EPA states that it developed the Partner of the Year Awards “to recognize the leadership contributions of Safer Choice partners and stakeholders who, over the past year, have shown achievement in the design, manufacture, selection and use of products with safer chemicals, that further outstanding or innovative source reduction.” EPA “especially encourages submission of award applications that show how the applicant’s work in the design, manufacture, selection and use of those products promotes environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water, or improves drinking water quality.” According to EPA, all Safer Choice stakeholders and program participants in good standing are eligible for recognition. Interested parties who would like to be considered for the award should submit to EPA information about their accomplishments and contributions during 2021. EPA notes that there is no form associated with this year’s application. EPA will recognize award winners at a Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards ceremony in fall 2022. Submissions are due May 31, 2022.


 
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 8, 2022, that it is planning to consolidate several Information Collection Requests (ICR) covering reporting and recordkeeping activities under Section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 87 Fed. Reg. 12954. Before submitting the consolidated ICR to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection. The consolidated ICR is entitled “Reporting and Recordkeeping Under Section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)” and is identified under EPA ICR No. 2703.01 and OMB Control No. 2070-[NEW]. According to EPA, it intends to streamline the presentation of the paperwork burden estimates for these various activities and eliminate any duplication, which in turn is expected to reduce the administrative burden for both the public reviewers and EPA. EPA’s Supporting Statement summarizes the currently approved ICRs that would be consolidated in the new ICR:
  • TSCA Section 8(a) Preliminary Assessment Information Rule (PAIR): Under TSCA Section 8(a), persons who manufacture or import chemical substances listed at 40 C.F.R. Section 712.30 are subject to the Section 8(a) PAIR requirements. These manufacturers and importers must submit information about production, use, and/or exposure-related data. Certain specific chemical testing and reporting requirements under 40 C.F.R. Part 766 Subpart B that are very similar to the PAIR requirements are also covered within this information collection activity.
     
  • Chemical-Specific Rules, TSCA Section 8(a): Under TSCA Section 8(a), persons who manufacture, import, or process certain chemical substances or mixtures, or propose to manufacture, import, or process certain chemical substances or mixtures, are subject to chemical-specific rules promulgated under TSCA Section 8(a). A chemical-specific Section 8(a) rule requires more detailed and more types of information than is required by a PAIR rule. Any chemical covered by TSCA for which the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), other EPA offices, or another federal agency has a reasonable need for information, and that cannot be satisfied via readily available sources or by use of other rulemakings, is a proper potential subject for a chemical-specific TSCA Section 8(a) rulemaking.
     
  • Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements for Allegations of Significant Adverse Reactions to Human Health or the Environment: Under TSCA Section 8(c), persons who manufacture, import, process, or distribute in commerce any chemical substance or mixture must keep records of significant adverse reactions to health or the environment, as determined by the Administrator by rule, alleged to have been caused by the substance or mixture. TSCA Section 8(c) requires that allegations of adverse reactions to the health of employees be kept for 30 years, and all other allegations be kept for five years. The rule also prescribes the conditions under which a firm must submit or make the records available to a duly designated representative of the Administrator.
     
  • Health and Safety Data Reporting, Submission of Lists and Copies of Health and Safety Studies: Under TSCA Section 8(d), certain persons, who manufacture, import, process, or distribute in commerce (or propose to manufacture, import, process, or distribute in commerce) chemical substances and mixtures, are required to submit to EPA lists and copies of health and safety studies in their possession that relate health and/or environmental effects of the chemical substances and mixtures.
Comments are due May 9, 2022.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 10, 2022, that registration is now open for the April 19-21, 2022, virtual meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). During the meeting, SACC will peer review the draft Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Systematic Review Protocol. SACC’s virtual meeting is open to the public, and registration is required. EPA states that the draft Protocol, released in December 2021 for public comment, incorporates changes to address the recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), as well as comments received from SACC and the public. According to EPA, the SACC review “will provide a transparent process to ensure that the protocol follows sound science and incorporates independent scientific advice and recommendations.” Stakeholders wishing to provide oral comments during the virtual meeting must register by 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on April 4, 2022. Stakeholders may register as listen-only attendees at any time until the end of the meeting on April 21, 2022. More information on the draft Protocol is available in our December 21, 2021, memorandum.


 
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