By Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 29, 2021, that it is evaluating its policies, guidance, templates, and regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) new chemicals program to ensure they “adhere to statutory requirements,” the Biden-Harris Administration’s executive orders, and other directives. EPA identified several instances where its approach for making determinations and managing risks associated with new chemicals can, according to EPA, more closely align with TSCA’s requirements to ensure protections for human health and the environment, including the use of significant new use rules (SNUR) and assumptions related to worker exposures. EPA states that it will stop issuing determinations of “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” based on the existence of proposed SNURs. According to EPA, “[r]ather than excluding reasonably foreseen conditions of use from EPA’s review of a new substance by means of a SNUR, Congress anticipated that EPA would review all conditions of use when making determinations on new chemicals and, where appropriate, issue orders to address potential risks.” Going forward, when EPA concludes that one or more uses may present an unreasonable risk, or when EPA believes that it lacks the information needed to make a safety finding, EPA will issue an order to address those potential risks.
EPA states that as has been the “long-standing practice,” it intends to continue issuing SNURs following TSCA Section 5(e) and 5(f) orders for new chemicals to ensure the requirements imposed on the submitter via an order apply to any person who manufactures or processes the chemical in the future. EPA notes that this ensures that other manufacturers of the same new chemical substance are held to the same conditions as the submitter subject to the TSCA Section 5(e) or 5(f) order.
EPA states that it now intends to ensure necessary protections for workers identified in its review of new chemicals through regulatory means. According to the announcement, where EPA identifies a potential unreasonable risk to workers that could be addressed with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and hazard communication, EPA will no longer assume that workers are protected adequately under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) worker protection standards and updated safety data sheets (SDS). Instead, EPA will identify the absence of worker safeguards as “reasonably foreseen” conditions of use, and mandate necessary protections through a TSCA Section 5(e) order, as appropriate.
The first policy change -- that the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) will no longer employ the “non-order SNUR” construction to regulate new chemicals without an order -- was somewhat predictable. This construction, since its inception, has led to questions about whether this interpretation meets the requirements under TSCA Section 5. In our view, EPA issuing a SNUR to prohibit conditions of use that EPA identifies as potentially leading to an unreasonable risk was an appropriate and expeditious means to achieve the protective end (the TSCA regulation) without the inefficiency and delays associated with the development of a consent order. EPA would only use this option when EPA concluded the intended conditions of use were not likely to present an unreasonable risk. It is not clear why a SNUR is viewed as being less protective than an order, when an order applies only to the premanufacture notice (PMN) submitter and a SNUR applies to all actors in the supply chain. EPA is required to promulgate a SNUR that conforms to an order absent a reason otherwise. The claim that undertaking a condition of use that is defined in a SNUR as a significant new use “requires only notification to EPA” misrepresents the rigor of the significant new use notice (SNUN) process. A SNUN functions just like a PMN, with a similar level of effort required on the submitter’s and EPA’s parts and nearly identical determination outcomes (a consent order, modification of the existing SNUR, or revocation of the existing SNUR if warranted), so saying that a SNUN is “just a notification to EPA” is the equivalent of stating that a PMN is “just a notification to EPA.” Detractors might also claim that orders include testing, but that presumes that testing is required for EPA to make an informed decision. If EPA can, as it routinely does, make a decision based on conservative assumptions with analogs, models, and information provided by the submitter, EPA can similarly make an informed decision about what measures are necessary to achieve its protective goal without new test data. In Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) view, this policy change will add marginal, if any, protective benefit at a significant increase in effort by both EPA and the submitter.
EPA’s decision that it no longer views use of PPE as reasonably foreseeable is an unwelcome and unprincipled development. B&C, on behalf of the TSCA New Chemicals Coalition (NCC), provided, at OPPT’s request, a robust data set that demonstrated that proper PPE is rarely not used in an industrial/commercial setting. A database of 40 years of OSHA violations contained very few glove, goggle, and general dermal protection violations -- all obvious violations to any inspector. The marginal number of OSHA violations supports the NCC’s view that standard PPE use is both reasonably foreseeable and highly likely and demonstrably so. Today’s unexplained reversal is difficult to reconcile with these facts. If EPA proceeds to issue orders for every PMN that may present a risk if workers do not take routine protective measures, then EPA will be required to regulate nearly every PMN in which EPA identifies a hazard other than “low hazard” for health and ecotoxicity, as was EPA’s practice when the Lautenberg amendments were passed in 2016. As we have stated previously, that would mean that EPA will be implementing TSCA as a hazard-based law, instead of the clear risk-based law that it is.
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to announce the release of the complete suite of TSCA Tutor™ regulatory training courses online and on-demand at www.TSCAtutor.com. Professionals seeking expert, efficient, essential training can preview and enroll in on-demand classes to complete at their own pace and timing. In addition to the newly released online e-learning courses, B&C’s TSCA Tutor™ training platform offers live in-person training at a company’s site and customized live webinar training, so companies can mix and match training modules and training approaches to provide the most suitable combination for their work needs.
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) awareness is a critically important element in the 21st century work environment for any business that involves industrial chemicals. The new normal requires awareness of TSCA’s application to a company’s operations to ensure consistent compliance with TSCA regulations and, importantly, to understand and anticipate how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing implementation of new TSCA will impact a company’s industrial chemical selection and use processes.
TSCA Tutor™ online training courses include:
- Video lessons.
- Detailed hand-out materials, including copies of all presentations and relevant course materials from EPA and other sources.
- Customizable, yet detailed and ready-to-use Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the regulatory topic covered in the session.
The courses were developed and are presented by members of B&C’s renowned TSCA practice group, which includes five former senior EPA officials; an extensive scientific staff, including seven Ph.D.s; and a robust and highly experienced team of lawyers and non-lawyer professionals extremely well versed in all aspects of TSCA law, regulation, policy, compliance, and litigation.
Online courses are offered at $100 for one-hour modules and $200 for 2-hour modules, or $1,400 for the full 12-module training. Courses can be completed at the learner’s own pace, and enrollment is valid for one full year. Interested professionals should visit www.TSCAtutor.com
, or read our full course descriptions here
TSCA Tutor -- Curriculum
- An Overview of TSCA (Course number T101)
- New TSCA at a Glance (Course number T102)
- Import Requirements, TSCA Section 13 (Course number T103)
- Export Requirements, TSCA Section 12 (Course number T104)
- Confidential Business Information (CBI) (Course number T105)
- Reporting and Retention of Information, TSCA Section 8 (Course number T106)
- Inspections and Audits (Course number T201)
- Preparing for a TSCA Audit
- TSCA Penalties/Overview of Self-Confession Policy
- TSCA Section 5, Part 1: TSCA Chemical Inventory, Exemptions (Course number T202)
- TSCA Inventory
- TSCA Section 5, Part 2: New Chemicals/New Use (Course number T203)
- New Chemicals/New Use
- Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) (Course number T204)
- CDR Overview
- Byproduct Reporting under CDR
- Chemical Testing (Regulatory)/Animal Welfare, TSCA Section 4 (Course number T205):
- Chemical Testing
- How to Prepare/Engage If a Chemical of Interest Is Listed under TSCA Section 4
- Prioritization and Risk Evaluation, TSCA Section 6 (Course number T206)
- Overview of Section 6 Risk Framework -- Prioritization, Evaluation, and Management
- How to Prepare/Engage If a Chemical of Interest Is Listed under Section 6
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is a Washington, D.C., law firm focusing on conventional, biobased, and nanoscale industrial, agricultural, and specialty chemical product approval and regulation, and associated business issues. B&C represents clients in many businesses, including basic, specialty, and agricultural and antimicrobial chemicals; biotechnology, nanotechnology, and emerging transformative technologies; paints and coatings; plastic products; and chemical manufacturing, formulation, distribution, and consumer product sectors. Visit www.lawbc.com for more information.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On August 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register final significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 145 chemical substances that are the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). 84 Fed. Reg. 43266. According to EPA, the chemical substances are subject to orders issued by EPA pursuant to TSCA Section 5(e). The final SNURs require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of the 145 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by the rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification initiates EPA’s evaluation of the use, under the conditions of use for that chemical substance, within the applicable review period. Persons may not commence manufacture or processing for the significant new use until EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and taken such actions as are required by that determination. The final SNURs will take effect October 21, 2019.
EPA notes that the final SNURs may also affect certain entities through pre-existing import certification and export notification rules under TSCA. Chemical importers are subject to TSCA Section 13 import certification requirements. Chemical importers must certify that the shipment of the chemical substance complies with all applicable rules and orders under TSCA. Importers of chemicals subject to the SNURs must certify their compliance with the SNUR requirements. Any persons who export or intend to export a chemical substance that is the subject of the SNURs on or after September 19, 2019, are subject to the export notification provisions of TSCA Section 12(b) and must comply with export notification requirements.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
Section 5(g) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish a statement of its findings after its review of TSCA Section 5(a) notices when EPA makes a finding that a new chemical substance or significant new use is not likely to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. On August 12, 2019, EPA published a statement of its findings for June 2019. 84 Fed. Reg. 39828. EPA notes that such statements apply to premanufacture notices (PMN), microbial commercial activity notices (MCAN), and significant new use notices (SNUN) submitted to EPA under TSCA Section 5. In the Federal Register notice, EPA provides the following information (to the extent that such information is not claimed as confidential business information (CBI)) on the PMNs, MCANs, and SNUNs for which, during this period, EPA has made findings under TSCA Section 5(a)(3)(C) that the new chemical substances or significant new uses are not likely to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment: EPA case number assigned to the TSCA Section 5(a) notice; chemical identity (generic name, if the specific name is claimed as CBI); and website link to EPA’s decision document describing the basis of the “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” finding made by EPA under TSCA Section 5(a)(3)(C).
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on August 1, 2019, that it is making additional information about new chemical notices available on its website. The new web page, “Statistics for the New Chemicals Review Program under TSCA,” allows users to view and search monthly updates for any active Premanufacture Notice (PMN), Significant New Use Notice (SNUN) and Microbial Commercial Activity Notice (MCAN) of interest by case number. Users can also download a spreadsheet with a list of all active cases and each case’s status. More information and commentary is available in our August 5, 2019, memorandum, "EPA Improves Transparency for New Chemicals Review Program under TSCA."
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to present the complimentary webinar “New TSCA at 3: Key Implementation Issues.” The webinar will drill down on key implementation challenges facing industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) three years into navigating the legal, regulatory, and science policy issues arising under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP); Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, B&C; and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, B&C, will present. Register online now.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Carla N. Hutton
On April 5, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that will establish final significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 13 chemical substances that are the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). 84 Fed. Reg. 13531. The final rule is significant because the 13 chemical substances are not also subject to consent orders. During the review, EPA identified certain reasonably foreseen conditions of use that it designated as significant new uses in the final SNURs. The final SNURs effectively prohibit the designated new use unless a person submits a notice to EPA, EPA makes a determination, and it takes any necessary action to mitigate any identified potential risk. The final rule will become effective on June 4, 2019. Please see our full memorandum for more information on this final rule.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Margaret R. Graham
On February 1, 2019, Lynn Vendinello, Acting Director, Chemical Control Division, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) signed the pre-publication version of a notice announcing that, due to the recent lapse of appropriations and the Agency shutdown, EPA is extending the review periods for all Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 Premanufacture Notices (PMN), Significant New Use Notices (SNUN), Microbial Commercial Activity Notices (MCAN), and exemption notices that were submitted to the Agency under TSCA Section 5 before December 29, 2018, and for which the review period had not expired as of December 29, 2018.
Due to a lack of authorized funding, from December 29, 2018, until EPA operations for the TSCA New Chemicals operations fully resumed on January 31, 2019, certain EPA functions were suspended including the processing of submissions made through the Central Data Exchange (CDX), e-PMN, or other methods. Further, no review work was performed on the TSCA section 5 notifications received by EPA on or before December 29, 2018, and for which the review period had not yet expired as of December 29, 2018. Consequently, the review period for any TSCA Section 5 notice submitted during the shutdown did not begin until TSCA New Chemical operations fully resumed on January 31, 2019.
EPA states that the duration of the extension period will be a total of 33 days, which is equivalent to the duration of the time period from December 29, 2018 (the date on which certain EPA operations shutdown) and the date on which EPA operations for the TSCA New Chemicals Program fully resumed (January 31, 2019). The notice states that EPA requires an extension of the review periods to complete its risk assessments, to examine its regulatory options, and to prepare the necessary documents associated with the relevant determination under TSCA Section 5(a)(3).
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued on October 16, 2018, a proposed rule that would establish significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 13 chemical substances that are the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). 83 Fed. Reg. 52179. The proposed rule is significant. Unlike other recent SNURs (i.e., those enacted since entry into force of amended TSCA), the 13 chemical substances are not also subject to consent orders. For this reason, the preamble contains novel language to address the new circumstances and legal issues encountered in the proposed rule. The proposed SNURs would require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of the 13 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification will initiate EPA’s evaluation of the intended use within the applicable review period. Persons may not commence the manufacture or processing for the significant new use until EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and has taken such actions as are required with that determination. Comments on the proposed SNURs are due November 15, 2018.
Please see the full memorandum for more information on the proposed rule and an illuminating commentary.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, and Jessie Nguyen
On May 9, 2018, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) posted the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan. OIRA states that the semi-annual Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan “provide uniform reporting of data on regulatory and deregulatory actions under development throughout the Federal government, covering over 60 departments, agencies, and commissions.” Below are highlights of rulemakings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) that are related to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
- Microorganisms: General Exemptions From Reporting Requirements; Revisions of Recipient Organisms Eligible for Tier I and Tier II Exemptions (RIN 2070-AJ65): EPA promulgated a final rule under TSCA Section 5 to establish notification procedures for review of certain new microorganisms before they are introduced into commerce. EPA received petitions to add Trichoderma reesei and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to the list of microorganisms that may be used as recipient microorganisms to qualify for the exemption from full notification and reporting. Based on EPA’s evaluation of these petitions, EPA states that it made a preliminary determination that certain strains of both microorganisms will not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment when used as a recipient microorganism, provided that certain criteria for the introduced genetic material and the physical containment conditions are met, and issued a proposed rule. EPA is developing a revised proposal that will address concerns raised by commenters, and is considering expanding the earlier proposal to prohibit the inclusion of antibiotic resistance genes in the introduced genetic material in microorganisms qualifying for the TSCA Section 5(h)(4) exemption. EPA intended to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in May 2018;
- Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate (PFAS) Chemical Substances; Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) (RIN 2070-AJ99): EPA is developing a SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for LCPFAC chemical substances, and for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or its salts. On January 21, 2015, EPA proposed to amend a SNUR for LCPFAC chemical substances by designating as a significant new use manufacturing (including importing) or processing of an identified subset of LCPFAC chemical substances for any use that will not be ongoing after December 31, 2015, and all other LCPFAC chemical substances for which there are currently no ongoing uses. EPA also proposed to make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import LCPFAC chemical substances as part of articles. In addition, EPA proposed to amend a SNUR for PFAS chemical substances that would make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import PFAS chemical substances as part of carpets. EPA intended to issue a supplemental NPRM in May 2018 following changes to TSCA brought about by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. EPA plans to issue a final rule in July 2019;
- Procedural Rule: Review of Confidential Business Information (CBI) Claims for the Identity of Chemicals on the TSCA Inventory -- Amended TSCA Section 8(b)(4)(C) (RIN 2070-AK21): EPA is developing a proposed rule to implement TSCA Section 8(b)(4)(C), which requires EPA to establish a plan to review all claims to protect the specific chemical identities of chemical substances on the confidential portion of the active TSCA Inventory. EPA intends to publish an NPRM in January 2019 and a final rule in December 2019;
- TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Revisions (RIN 2070-AK33): EPA will revise the reporting requirements to align better with new TSCA requirements. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in September 2018 and a final rule in September 2019;
- Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices (RIN 2070-AJ94): On July 28, 2016, EPA issued a rule proposing changes to the applicable Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations to align EPA’s regulations, where possible, with the final revisions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communications Standards. EPA intends to issue a final rule in September 2018;
- Certain Nonylphenols (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE); SNUR (RIN 2070-AJ96): On October 1, 2014, EPA issued a proposed SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for certain NPs and NPEs. EPA intends to issue a final SNUR in December 2018;
- Mercury; Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory (RIN 2070-AK22): On October 26, 2017, EPA issued a rule proposing reporting requirements under TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(D) for applicable persons to provide information to assist in the preparation of an “inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States,” where mercury is defined as “elemental mercury” and “a mercury compound.” EPA intends to issue a final rule in June 2018; and
- Service Fees for the Administration of TSCA (RIN 2070-AK27): On February 26, 2018, EPA issued a rule proposing to implement TSCA Section 26(b)(1), which authorizes EPA to issue a rule to establish fees to defray the cost of administering Sections 4, 5, and 6, and collecting, processing, reviewing, and providing access to and protecting from disclosure as appropriate under Section 14 information on chemical substances. EPA intends to issue a final rule in August 2018.