By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, and Holly M. Williams
On June 30, 2020, the Trump Administration released the Spring 2020 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) According to the Unified Agenda, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is working on several rulemakings under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Rulemakings at the proposed stage are listed below:
- Review of Dust-Lead Post-Abatement Clearance Levels. On June 24, 2020, EPA published a proposed rule that would lower the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and windowsills after lead removal activities (dust-lead clearance levels (DLCL)) from 40 micrograms (µg) of lead in dust per square foot (ft2) to 10 µg/ft2 for floor dust and from 250 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2 for window sill dust. 85 Fed. Reg. 37810. Comments on the proposed rule are due August 24, 2020. EPA intends to publish a final rule in September 2020.
- Reporting and Recordkeeping for Certain Chemicals under TSCA Section 8(a). EPA is developing a rulemaking under TSCA Section 8(a) to add certain chemicals that are on the TSCA Work Plan to the Chemical-Specific Reporting and Recordkeeping rules in 40 C.F.R. Part 704, Subpart B. EPA is developing this rule to obtain information about potential hazards and exposure pathways related to certain chemicals on the TSCA Work Plan, particularly occupational, environmental, and consumer exposure information. EPA states that this information is needed to inform prioritization and risk evaluation of the chemical substances, as mandated under TSCA Section 6. EPA intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in November 2020 and a final rule in June 2021.
- Revisions to the Fees Rule under TSCA. EPA is reviewing its 2018 final rule that established the requirements and procedures for setting and collecting fees from chemical manufacturers (including importers) and, in some cases, processors, submitters of new chemical substances, and others. TSCA Section 26(b)(4)(F) requires EPA to review and adjust the fees every three years and to consult with parties potentially subject to fees when the fees are reviewed and updated to reflect changes in program costs. EPA states that in addition to possible revisions resulting from this review, consistent with its announcement in March 2020, it will also consider proposing exemptions to the current rule’s self-identification requirements associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations for manufacturers that: (1) import the chemical substance in an article; (2) produce the chemical substance as a byproduct; and (3) produce or import the chemical substance as an impurity. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in December 2020 and a final rule in October 2021. More information on EPA’s March 2020 announcement is available in our April 17, 2020, blog item.
- Updates to New Chemicals Procedural Regulations to Reflect the 2016 TSCA Amendments: EPA states that the 2016 amendments impacted how it reviews and makes determinations on new chemical notices under TSCA Section 5. EPA acknowledges that as a result of these increased responsibilities, “it has become more challenging for EPA to complete reviews within 90 days.” This rulemaking seeks to revise the procedural regulations in 40 C.F.R. Part 720 to improve the efficiency of EPA’s review process and to align its processes and procedures with the new statutory requirements. EPA intends to increase the quality of information initially submitted in new chemicals notices and improve its processes to reduce unnecessary rework in the risk assessment and, ultimately, the length of time that new chemicals are under review. EPA intends to publish an NPRM in September 2020 and a final rule in July 2021.
Rulemakings at the final stage include:
- Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices. On July 28, 2016, EPA proposed amending components of the Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations at 40 C.F.R. Section 721, specifically the “Protection in the Workplace” (40 C.F.R. Section 721.63) and “Hazard Communication Program” (40 C.F.R. Section 721.72). The proposed changes are intended to align, where possible, EPA’s regulations with the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations at 29 C.F.R. Section 1910.1200. EPA intends to issue a final rule in August 2020. More information on the proposed rule is available in our July 29, 2016, memorandum, “: TSCA: Proposed Revisions to Significant New Use Rules Reflect Current Occupational Safety and Health Standards.”
- Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances (PFAS); Significant New Use Rule (SNUR). In a January 21, 2015, proposed SNUR for LCPFAC and PFAS chemical substances, EPA proposed to require notification of significant new uses from persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of any article. 80 Fed. Reg. 2885. EPA proposed to make the exemption from notification requirements for persons who import the chemical substance as part of an article inapplicable for the import of a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances in all articles. As reported in our February 28, 2020, memorandum, “Proposed Supplemental SNUR Would Remove Exemption for LCPFAC Chemical Substances Used as Surface Coatings on Articles,” EPA issued a supplemental proposal that would make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of surface coatings on articles. EPA intended to issue a final rule in June 2020.
- Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE); Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h). TSCA Section 6(h) directs EPA to issue regulations under Section 6(a) for certain PBT chemical substances identified in the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan. EPA states that it is selecting among the available prohibitions and other restrictions in TSCA Section 6(a) to address risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator determines are presented by the chemical substances and reduce exposure to the chemical substances to the extent practicable. Since the statute states that a risk evaluation is not required for these chemical substances under TSCA Section 6(h), EPA developed an exposure and use assessment. According to the Unified Agenda item, EPA intends to take final action on all of the chemicals that were addressed in the July 29, 2019, proposed rule (i.e., the following PBT chemicals identified in TSCA Section 6(h): DecaBDE; phenol, isopropylated phosphate (PIP) (3:1); 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (TTBP); pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP); and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD). Although addressed in a single proposed rule, EPA intends to issue separate final rules. EPA proposed to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of DecaBDE, and articles and products to which DecaBDE has been added with several exceptions, and proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements. EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020. More information is available in our June 24, 2019, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Proposed PBT Chemicals Rule under TSCA.”
- PIP (3:1); Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h). EPA proposed to prohibit the processing and distribution in commerce of PIP (3:1), and products containing the chemical substance with several exceptions; prohibit releases to water from the non-prohibited processing, distribution in commerce, and commercial use activities. Persons manufacturing, processing, and distributing PIP (3:1), and products containing PIP (3:1), in commerce would be required to notify their customers of these restrictions, and EPA proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements. EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
- TTBP; Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h.). EPA proposed to prohibit the distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP in any container with a volume of less than 55 gallons for any use to prevent the use of 2,4,6-TTBP as a fuel additive or fuel injector cleaner by consumers and small commercial operations (e.g., automotive repair shops, marinas). The proposed restriction also would prohibit processing and distribution in commerce of 2,4,6-TTBP, and products containing 2,4,6-TTBP, for use as an oil or lubricant additive, regardless of container size. EPA also proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements. EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
- PCTP; Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h). EPA proposed to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of PCTP, and products containing PCTP, unless in concentrations at or below one percent by weight; and proposed to require affected persons to maintain, for three years from the date the record is generated, ordinary business records that demonstrate compliance with the restrictions, prohibitions, and other requirements. EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
- HCBD; Regulation of PBT Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h). For HCBD, EPA proposed no regulatory action. EPA intends to issue a final rule in December 2020.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On May 28, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report entitled EPA Toxic Substances Control Act Consent Orders Need Better Coordination. OIG conducted the evaluation to determine what actions EPA took to verify compliance with the requirements of the 2009 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Premanufacture Notice Consent Order with DuPont (responsibilities transferred to The Chemours Company in 2015) to prevent the release of GenX chemicals in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. OIG notes that GenX chemicals are a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rain water, and air emissions. OIG found insufficient communication and coordination between the two EPA offices responsible for developing and enforcing the consent order requirements designed to reduce risks in the manufacture of GenX chemicals. Under the 2009 Consent Order, EPA required DuPont to determine how to recover and capture 99 percent of GenX’s manufacturing discharges and air emissions. The Consent Order was not reviewed or approved by the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), which is responsible for conducting inspections to verify compliance, however. Until June 2017, EPA’s actions to verify compliance with the 2009 Consent Order and new chemicals testing requirements consisted of tracking and reviewing information provided by the manufacturer. According to OIG, following the local media coverage of the presence of GenX chemicals in the Cape Fear River in 2017, Region 4 and EPA contractors conducted EPA’s first on-site compliance monitoring inspection at the Fayetteville Works facility, which manufactures GenX. OIG found that the Region 4 inspectors were unaware of the 2009 Consent Order and its requirements until the inspection was requested by EPA headquarters.
OIG recommends that EPA establish and implement processes:
- For OECA to review and approve the terms and conditions of TSCA Section 5(e) Consent Orders that it is responsible for verifying during compliance monitoring and enforcement activities; and
- To provide final TSCA Section 5(e) Consent Orders to regions and verify that the regions have the final consent orders.
OIG states that EPA “did not provide an acceptable corrective action for Recommendation 1, and we consider this recommendation unresolved.” For Recommendation 2, EPA provided an alternative course of action that OIG finds acceptable. OIG considers Recommendation 2 resolved with corrective action pending.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release announcing a final agreement with Swix Sport USA (Swix) resolving Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) violations associated with the importation of noncompliant ski wax products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). According to the press release, Swix agrees to pay a fine and develop a $1 million educational program to raise awareness in ski communities about PFAS chemicals in ski waxes. EPA states that Swix violated the TSCA Premanufacturing Notice requirements and Import Certification requirements when it imported ski wax products containing six different PFAS chemicals on at least 83 occasions that were not included on the TSCA Inventory or otherwise exempt for commercial purposes. Once the chemicals were identified, Swix immediately ceased importation of the products containing the PFAS substances and quarantined products in its control in the United States.
Under the terms of the settlement, Swix has agreed to spend approximately $1 million to develop and implement an outreach and training program referred to as a Responsible Waxing Project (RWP) and pay a $375,625 civil penalty. The RWP is aimed at: (1) educating the ski racing community about PFAS chemicals in racing waxes and their impact on the environment; and (2) promoting the use of wax alternatives with lower environmental impact, including but not limited to racing waxes that are PFAS-free. Another objective of the RWP is to educate and motivate the ski racing community to phase out (and ultimately eliminate) the use of PFAS-containing waxes in ski racing beginning with the 2020 ski season.
EPA notes that the RWP has several elements, including an education and training component for ski wax technicians on the proper disposal of racing wax shavings and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during the waxing process. Other RWP elements include:
- PFAS ski wax education program, including two on-site presentations at a major ski event that attracts more than 10,000 participants;
- Training for wax technicians on the proper use of PPE, proper ventilation, and proper disposal of wax shavings;
- Program for ski wax coaches available online and used at on-site presentations at a minimum of ten events designed for coach certifications;
- Additional outreach to college racing teams and clubs that educates high school and college level skiers about the RWP content;
- A dedicated Swix project manager who oversees the project to completion;
- Website development for all videos created as part of the settlement for technicians, coaches, and teams; and
- Distribution of PFAS alternative wax information materials at a minimum of 50 ski sites.
EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board approved the consent agreement and final order on May 13, 2020.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 13, 2019, that it published “new, easily-searchable” web pages displaying information on:
EPA notes that it is required to publish information pertaining to new chemical submissions under TSCA Section 5. EPA states that historically, these data have been, and will continue to be, made available monthly in the Federal Register via www.regulations.gov. According to EPA, the new web pages “are a much easier way for the public to access information about new chemical submissions.” The web pages provide information, such as the date the notice was received by EPA, the case number, and the chemical substance identity (to the extent that such information is not subject to a confidential business information (CBI) claim). EPA states that it will update the web pages monthly.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced on September 23, 2019, that it plans to begin an evaluation of EPA’s implementation of the 2009 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) premanufacture notice (PMN) consent order with DuPont [Chemours]. According to OIG, its objective is to determine what actions EPA took to verify compliance with the requirements of the consent order to prevent release of the chemical GenX into the Cape Fear River basin. OIG states that it plans to conduct work in headquarters within the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, as well as Region 4. The anticipated benefits of the project are to improve controls over TSCA PMN consent orders.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On September 3, 2019, Earthjustice filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a notice of intent to sue EPA under Section 20(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for “EPA’s repeated and ongoing failures to comply with TSCA’s nondiscretionary mandates to disclose to the public information about new chemical substances reviewed by EPA.” According to Earthjustice, EPA “routinely fails to disclose” certain information regarding the submission and review of new chemical applications under the premanufacture notification (PMN) and test marketing exemption (TME) provisions. Earthjustice states that these violations impede the ability of the listed parties -- the Environmental Defense Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Health Strategy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO/CLC -- “to be meaningfully informed of and able to participate in EPA’s review of new chemicals.” Earthjustice asks that EPA immediately cease further violations of TSCA’s disclosure requirements for new chemicals and disclose the information to which the listed parties are legally entitled in the mandated time frames. A detailed analysis and commentary on the notice are available in our September 17, 2019, memorandum, “Earthjustice Notifies EPA of Intent to Sue for Failure to Disclose Information about New Chemical Substances.”
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."
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.
On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that on May 30, 2019, it will begin publishing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 notices including premanufacture notices (PMN), microbial commercial activity notices (MCAN), and significant new use notices (SNUN), their attachments, including any health and safety studies, any modifications thereto, and all other associated information in ChemView -- in the form they are received by EPA, without review by EPA. EPA states that it will not be reviewing confidential business information (CBI)-sanitized filings before publishing. EPA states that this announcement will be the first of several reminders that EPA sends and, in addition, EPA has incorporated a reminder to check accompanying sanitized submissions as part of the Central Data Exchange (CDX) reporting module for TSCA Section 5 notices.
EPA’s announcement states the following as guidance for submitters to take heed of before submitting their TSCA Section 5 notices:
- Verify the asserted CBI claims are correct and consistent; and
- Verify the sanitized versions of the form, attachments, and file names are checked for proper and consistent CBI redactions and that watermarks or stamps indicating CBI are removed.
EPA does not specify how long after submission the documents may be posted, but submitters should expect a very short turn-around. Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) has addressed the topic of CBI before, most recently on our podcast, All Things Chemical™. When completing a PMN, a submitter must take care to ensure that all information that must be protected as CBI is marked as such. A submitter cannot expect EPA to extrapolate a claim for CBI in one part of a form to the rest of the document and its attachments. B&C strongly suggests that a submitter review the sanitized form of an entire document (e.g., a PMN and its attachments) to ensure that all sensitive information is redacted before submitting the document to EPA.
Do not wait until May 30. Begin developing and practicing good CBI practices today.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On February 8, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register its notice 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. 84 Fed. Reg. 2851. 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). The duration of the extension period is a total of 33 days, but the notice states that because the extension is less than 90 days, EPA reserves the right under TSCA Section 5(c) to issue, for good cause, future additional extensions for individual cases up to a total of 90 days.
More information on why EPA has chosen to do this is in our blog item regarding the pre-publication version of this notice “EPA Extends Review Periods for TSCA Section 5 PMNs, SNUNs, MCANs and Exemption Notices Due to Lack of Authorized Funding and Shutdown.”