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 7, 2021, that it is partnering with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Science Consortium International, Unilever, and Syngenta on a three-part virtual workshop series on “Using In Silico and In Vitro Approaches for Next Generation Risk Assessment of Potential Respiratory Toxicants.”  EPA states that this webinar series supports its commitment “to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing, as outlined in the Strategic Plan to Promote the Development and Implementation of Alternative Test Methods within the [Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)] Program.”  The webinars will take place on May 19, May 26, and June 2, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (EDT).  Each webinar will feature three speakers.  The meeting agenda and registration information are available at www.thepsci.eu/inhalation-webinars.  Attendees must register for each of the three webinars individually.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 27, 2021, “important policy shifts in its review of new [per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)] before they can enter the market.”  According to EPA, although some new PFAS have been allowed to enter the market through low volume exemptions (LVE), EPA’s New Chemicals Program is implementing a new strategy for reviewing and managing LVE requests for PFAS.  EPA states that due to the scientific complexities associated with assessing PFAS, and the hazard potential associated with various sub-classes of PFAS, “it is challenging to conduct an appropriately robust review of LVE requests for PFAS in the 30 days the regulations allow.”  Under the regulations, EPA can deny LVE requests if it finds the chemical may cause serious human health effects or significant environmental effects or when issues concerning toxicity or exposure require review that cannot be completed in 30 days.  According to EPA, “[g]iven the complexity of PFAS chemistry, potential health effects, and their longevity and persistence in the environment, an LVE submission for a PFAS is unlikely to be eligible for this kind of exemption under the regulations.”  While EPA will consider each LVE application individually, it “generally expects” that it will deny pending and new LVE submissions for PFAS.  This will allow EPA more time to conduct a more thorough review and, as appropriate, “put measures in place to mitigate the potential risk of these chemicals as the agency determines whether to allow them to enter commerce.”  EPA states that in addition, it is “exploring ways to work cooperatively with companies to voluntarily withdraw previously granted LVEs.”  EPA states that this “would build upon a 2016 outreach effort that resulted in companies withdrawing more than half of the 82 long-chain PFAS LVEs that existed at the time.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on April 28, 2021, announcing a 30-day comment period on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Interagency Testing Committee’s (ITC) revisions to the Priority Testing List.  86 Fed. Reg. 22414.  In the 74th ITC Report, ITC revised the TSCA Section 4(e) Priority Testing List by adding the following 15 high-priority substances designated pursuant to TSCA Section 6(b) and 24 organohalogen flame retardants:

Chemical Substance Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number
High-Priority Substances
1,3-Butadiene 106-99-0
Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) - 1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1- butyl 2(phenylmethyl) ester 85-68-7
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) (1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- dibutyl ester) 84-74-2
o-Dichlorobenzene 95-50-1
p-Dichlorobenzene 106-46-7
trans-1,2- Dichloroethylene 156-60-5
1,2-Dichloropropane 78-87-5
Dicyclohexyl phthalate 84-61-7
Di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) - (1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- bis(2- ethylhexyl) ester) 117-81-7
Di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP) - (1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- bis-(2methylpropyl) ester) 84-69-5
Formaldehyde 50-00-0
1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta [g]-2-benzopyran (HHCB) 1222-05-5
Phthalic anhydride 85-44-9
4,4'-(1-Methylethylidene)bis[2, 6-dibromophenol] (TBBPA) 79-94-7
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 79-00-5
Organohalogen Flame Retardants
Bis(hexachlorocyclopentadieno)cyclooctane 13560-89-9
1,2-Bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane 37853-59-1
1,1'-Ethane-1,2-diylbis(pentabromobenzene) 84852-53-9
2-(2-Hydroxyethoxy)ethyl 2-hydroxypropyl 3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate 20566-35-2
2,2'-[(1-Methylethylidene)bis[(2,6-dibromo-4,1-
phenylene)oxymethylene]]bis[oxirane]
3072-84-2
Mixture of chlorinated linear alkanes C14-17 with 45-52 % chlorine 85535-85-9
N,N-Ethylene-bis(tetrabromophthalimide) 32588-76-4
Pentabromochlorocyclohexane 87-84-3
(Pentabromophenyl)methyl acrylate 59447-55-1
Pentabromotoluene 87-83-2
Perbromo-1,4-diphenoxybenzene 58965-66-5
Phosphonic acid, (2-chloroethyl)-, bis(2-chloroethyl) ester 6294-34-4
Propanoic acid, 2-bromo-, methyl ester 5445-17-0
Tetrabromobisphenol A-bis(2,3-dibromopropyl ether) 21850-44-2
Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2-hydroxyethyl) ether 4162-45-2
Tetrabromobisphenol A diallyl ether 25327-89-3
Tetrabromobisphenol A dimethyl ether 37853-61-5
2,4,6-Tribromoaniline 147-82-0
1,3,5-Tribromo-2-(prop-2-en-1-yloxy)benzene 3278-89-5
Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphite 140-08-9
Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate 126-72-7
1,3,5-Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6(1H,3H,5H)-trione 52434-90-9
Tris(tribromoneopentyl)phosphate 19186-97-1
2,4,6-Tris-(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)-1,3,5-triazine 25713-60-4

ITC requests that EPA add these chemical substances and the other five high-priority substances and six organohalogen flame retardants currently on the Priority Testing List to 40 C.F.R. Section 716.120(a), the list of substances subject to the TSCA Section 8(d) Health and Safety Data Reporting rule (40 C.F.R. Part 716).  The rule requires manufacturers (including importers) of chemical substances and mixtures added to the Health and Safety Data Reporting rule to submit lists and copies of unpublished health and safety studies to EPA.  Comments are due May 28, 2021.
 
EPA notes that in addition to the chemical substances being added to the Priority Testing List in the 74th ITC Report, the Priority Testing List includes two alkylphenols, 45 High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program orphan chemicals, cadmium, a category of cadmium compounds, six non-phthalate plasticizers, 25 phosphate ester flame retardants, two other flame retardants, nine chemicals to which children living near hazardous waste sites may be exposed, and 19 diisocyanates and related compounds.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on April 12, 2021, that it will hold a public webinar on April 28, 2021, to receive information from interested parties about updates CPSC is making to www.SaferProducts.gov/Business for reports filed electronically under Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).  86 Fed. Reg. 18966.  The presentation will focus on Section 15(b) reporting for the purposes of entering the Fast Track Recall Program.  Webinar participants will have an opportunity to see the improvements to www.SaferProducts.gov/Business and provide feedback to CPSC through a moderated discussion.  CPSC states that it would like to hear from manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that have participated in the Fast Track Recall Program, including those who use www.SaferProducts.gov/Business to report potentially defective or hazardous products to CPSC.  The goal of the webinar is to receive feedback on these updates and to assess the impact, if any, that the improvements will have on the website’s utility and usability and the Fast Track Recall Program.

CPSA Section 15(b) requires every manufacturer of a consumer product, or other product or substance over which CPSC has jurisdiction, distributed in commerce, and every distributor or retailer of such product, to report immediately when it obtains certain information.  Such reporting is required when manufacturers, distributors, or retailers obtain information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a product:

  • Fails to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule or with a voluntary consumer product safety standard that CPSC relied on under CPSA Section 9;
  • Fails to comply with any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban under the CPSA or any other act CPSC enforces;
  • Contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard (i.e., a product defect that (because of the pattern of defect, the number of defective products distributed in commerce, the severity of the risk, or otherwise) creates a substantial risk of injury to the public); or
  • Creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.

This reporting is required unless the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer has actual knowledge that CPSC has been adequately informed of such defect, such failure to comply, or such risk.  Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can submit Section 15(b) reports to CPSC at www.SaferProducts.gov/Business.  When submitting a Section 15(b) report through www.SaferProducts.gov/Business, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers may elect to participate in the Fast Track Recall Program, which is an alternative procedure for recalling products reported under CPSA Section 15(b).


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 8, 2021, that it is releasing an updated toxicity assessment for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), which is a member of the group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  EPA states that this PFBS assessment is part of its commitment to restore scientific integrity to all of the Agency’s actions and increase the amount of research and information available to the public on PFAS.  According to EPA’s announcement, “EPA, federal agencies, states, tribes, and local communities can use the PFBS toxicity assessment, along with specific exposure and other relevant information, to determine if and when it is necessary to take action to address potential health risks associated with human exposures to PFBS under appropriate regulations and statutes.”  EPA notes that the updated assessment “has gone through all appropriate reviews, includes input EPA received from external peer review, upholds the tenants of scientific integrity, was authored by expert career scientists in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, and has not been compromised by political staff -- these were all issues with a version of the assessment that was posted during the previous administration.  The release of today’s PFBS assessment upholds the integrity of EPA’s science, which EPA, states, tribes, and more rely on to make decisions that protect the health of their communities.”
 
According to EPA’s fact sheet on the toxicity assessment, PFBS is a replacement chemical for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), a PFAS that was voluntarily phased out by the primary U.S. manufacturer by 2002.  PFBS has been identified in the environment and consumer products, including surface water, wastewater, drinking water, dust, carpeting and carpet cleaners, and floor wax.  The fact sheet states that the PFBS toxicity assessment is comparable to assessments developed under EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) and Provisional Peer-Reviewed Toxicity Value (PPRTV) Programs in that it provides hazard identification, dose-response information, and toxicity values.  EPA will continue to work with state, tribal, and local partners to provide technical assistance as they consider the final PFBS toxicity values in relevant exposure scenarios.  The fact sheet notes that at this time, EPA does not plan to issue a regulation for PFBS.


 
 
SAVE THE DATE
NEW TSCA AT FIVE
Virtual Conference
June 30, 2021
 
This June marks the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the game-changing Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg) that amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). With a new Administration and the relentless pace of regulatory developments related to Lautenberg implementation, there are many issues to consider and problems to solve.

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) are pleased to announce the fifth annual conference providing updates and insights regarding the current state of TSCA implementation, ongoing and emerging issues, and related developments. Topics will include how EPA is implementing Section 6 risk evaluation provisions, changes in new chemical review, existing chemical risk management provisions, and TSCA’s role in achieving environmental justice, among other topics.

As with our previous TSCA anniversary events, a stellar faculty of speakers from government, non-governmental organizations, industry, and academia will convene to inform, analyze, discuss, and debate the most pressing issues related to TSCA with regulatory practitioners and other stakeholder attendees.

Detailed program and registration information to come. SAVE THE DATE!


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 1, 2021, that it is extending the public comment period for a manufacturer-requested risk evaluation of octahydro-tetramethyl-naphthalenyl-ethanone (OTNE), a category of chemical substances consisting of four inseparable individual isomers.  As reported in our February 18, 2021, blog item, EPA notes that two chemicals in the OTNE category are considered persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), “meaning they are toxic, can remain in the environment for long periods of time, and can build up or accumulate in the body.”  EPA “welcomes all public comments,” particularly on the following:

  • Any information not included in the manufacturer request that commenters believe EPA would need to conduct a risk evaluation;
  • Additional conditions of use EPA is proposing to include in the risk evaluation; and
  • Information on conditions of use not included in the manufacturer request or in the additional conditions of use EPA proposes to include in the risk evaluation, specifically the inclusion of any additional conditions of use and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations.  EPA states that it “is in the process of broadly re-examining how it intends to implement these and other provisions of the amended [TSCA] including determining how new executive orders will be addressed.  This process would benefit greatly from stakeholder feedback.”

Comments were due April 5, 2021, but EPA is extending the comment period an additional 30 days.  After the comment period closes, EPA will review the comments and either grant or deny the request to conduct a risk evaluation within 60 days.  If EPA grants the request, the manufacturers would be responsible for half the cost of the risk evaluation.  International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., Privi Organics USA Corporation, and DRT America, Inc. formally requested the risk evaluation through the OTNE Consortium managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM).


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On March 3, 2021, Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee; and Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Ranking Member of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee, sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging EPA to expedite any reevaluation of the Toxic Substances Control Act’s (TSCA) systematic review methods.  As reported in our February 17, 2021, blog item, on February 16, 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) announced the availability of a report entitled The Use of Systematic Review in EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act Risk Evaluations.  In its final report, the Committee to Review EPA’s TSCA Systematic Review Guidance Document states that it “was in strong consensus that the processes used by [the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT)] do not meet the evaluation criteria specified in the Statement of Task (i.e., comprehensive, workable, objective, and transparent).”  EPA published a press release on February 16, 2021, in response to the Committee’s report, announcing that it “will refine its approach to selecting and reviewing the scientific studies that are used to inform” TSCA chemical risk evaluations.  According to the press release, EPA has already begun to develop a TSCA systematic review protocol in collaboration with its Office of Research and Development to incorporate approaches from the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program.  In their March 4, 2021, press release, the Republicans state that the IRIS Program “has come under fire from Congress and independent reviewers like the National Academies for its inconsistent process, lack of transparency, and failure to complete assessments in a timely fashion.”  The Republicans ask for EPA’s commitment that, “in accordance with congressional intent to operate with flexibility and speed, TSCA does not fully or consistently adopt program processes or procedures implemented by IRIS.”  If EPA incorporates elements developed by the IRIS Program into TSCA, the Republicans “expect the Agency to assess their benefits and impacts thoroughly, while also adhering to the statutorily prescribed deadlines and scientific standards mandated.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 8, 2021, that “in accordance with Biden-Harris Administration executive orders and directives,” it is asking for additional public input on five final rules for persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals issued on January 6, 2021, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA states that as a first step in its efforts to review these rules immediately, EPA is opening a 60-day comment period for the public to provide new input on:

  • Whether the rules sufficiently reduce exposure to these chemicals, including exposures to potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations and the environment;
  • Newly raised compliance issues associated with the final rule on phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), including the compliance dates for certain regulated articles; and
  • Whether to consider additional or alternative measures or approaches.

EPA states that it will use the feedback received during the comment period to determine the best path forward, which could include amending the final rules to include additional or alternative exposure reduction measures or extending compliance dates for certain regulated products and articles.  Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept public comments for 60 days.
 
Stakeholders recently informed EPA that the prohibition on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) could impact articles used in a wide variety of electronics, from cell phones, to robotics used to manufacture semiconductors, to equipment used to move COVID-19 vaccines and keep them at the appropriate temperature.  EPA states that stakeholders “note that the complexity of international supply chains makes locating the presence of, and finding alternatives to, PIP (3:1) in components challenging.”  According to EPA, stakeholders assert that an extension to the compliance deadline is necessary to avoid significant disruption to the supply chain for a wide variety of articles.  EPA states that it was not its intent during the development of the final rule to have such a broad disruptive impact.  Thus, EPA “is also announcing its expectation that this specific issue will be addressed as part of the broader re-examination of these rules.”  EPA “intends to extend compliance dates as necessary for the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in some articles, and some of the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added.”
 
EPA states that for these same reasons, it is issuing a temporary 180-day “No Action Assurance” indicating that the agency will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the prohibitions on processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) for use in articles, and the articles to which PIP (3:1) has been added.  EPA “is taking this action to ensure that the supply chain of these important articles is not interrupted while EPA continues to collect the information needed to best inform subsequent regulatory efforts and allow for the issuance of a final agency action to extend the March 8, 2021, compliance date as necessary.”


 

In the 21st century, we take as given a continuous stream of new and better products. From electronics to building materials to transportation solutions, the flow of new and better products and applications seems unending. New chemical substances play a fundamental role in creating those products and making existing products better. If the pipeline of new chemicals were closed off, the flow of new products and applications would slow to a trickle and eventually dry up. Modern life as we know it would not exist without the continued invention, production and use of new chemicals.

In the US, all new chemicals must be reviewed by the US EPA before they can enter commerce. The agency looks at new chemicals to determine whether their manufacturing, processing and use would adversely affect people or the environment. If the EPA identifies risks that it determines to be unreasonable, then it either prohibits use of the chemical, or requires restrictions on the chemical to control for risks. Since the 1970s, tens of thousands of chemicals have come through the EPA for review and have been allowed into US commerce.

In this article, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. and Jeffery T. Morris, Ph.D. write that more robust consideration of a new chemical’s potential to prevent pollution and lower risks could help achieve the right balance between safety and innovation. The full article is available at https://chemicalwatch.com/220164/guest-column-why-the-us-epa-can-and-should-evaluate-the-risk-reducing-role-a-new-chemical-may-play-if-allowed-on-the-market (subscription required).


 
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