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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 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 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.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 7, 2022, that registration is now open for the March 15-17. 2022, 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 level methodology). As reported in our January 24, 2022, memorandum, EPA will use the screening level methodology to evaluate potential chemical exposures and associated potential risks to fenceline communities in its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations. EPA has extended the comment period to March 22, 2022, to give stakeholders additional time to provide input. EPA “encourages” written comments for consideration by SACC during its peer review be submitted by the original deadline of February 22, 2022. EPA states that it will provide comments submitted after this date to the SACC members, but notes that members “may not have adequate time to consider those comments prior to the meeting’s discussions.” While SACC is unable to consider comments submitted after the March 15-17, 2022, meeting, EPA will consider all comments submitted by March 22, 2022.
 
To provide oral comments during the virtual peer review meeting, registration must be received by 12:00 p.m. (EST) on February 25, 2022. Stakeholders may register as a listen-only attendee at any time until the end of the meeting on March 17, 2022.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On January 21, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will hold a virtual peer review meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) to consider and review the “Draft TSCA Screening Level Approach for Assessing Ambient Air and Water Exposures to Fenceline Communities Version 1.0.” 87 Fed. Reg. 3294. The meeting will be held March 15-17, 2022, and will be open to the public. Along with presenting the methodology, EPA will also present results of applying the screening methodology (case studies) to 1-bromopropane (1-BP) (air pathway), N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) (water pathway), and methylene chloride (MC) (air and water pathway). In addition, EPA announced the availability of and solicited public comments on the draft approach, which will be presented as a screening level methodology for assessing potential air and water chemical exposures to fenceline communities. Comments are due February 22, 2022.

EPA's background documents, related supporting materials, and draft charge questions to the SACC are available in Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0415 and on the SACC website. EPA will provide additional background documents (e.g., SACC members and consultants participating in this meeting and the meeting agenda) as the materials become available. Registration is required to receive the webcast meeting link and audio teleconference information. EPA states that it intends to announce registration instructions on the SACC website by early February 2022.

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


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 13, 2022, that it is accepting public comments on candidates under consideration for selection as ad hoc peer reviewers assisting the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) with its review of the Draft Systematic Review Protocol Supporting TSCA Risk Evaluations for Chemical Substances. This comment period follows a previous 30-day call for nominations that ended on November 17, 2021. EPA will use comments on the potential candidates to assist it in selecting approximately six to eight ad hoc reviewers, depending on a balance of experience, to assist SACC with its review. Biographies of the candidates are available at regulations.gov. Comments are due January 28, 2022, to Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0414.
 
As reported in our December 21, 2021, memorandum, the draft protocol incorporates changes to address recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as comments received from SACC and the public. The SACC review of the protocol will take place during a public meeting April 19-21, 2022. According to EPA, this review “will provide a transparent process to ensure that the protocol follows sound science and incorporates independent scientific advice and recommendations.” EPA will announce registration instructions on the SACC website in early March.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is accepting public comments on candidates under consideration for selection as ad hoc reviewers assisting the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) with their review of the draft EPA Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Screening Level Approach for Assessing Ambient Air and Water Exposures to Fenceline Communities. EPA will use the comments to assist it in selecting approximately six to eight ad hoc reviewers to assist the SACC with its review. Biographies of the candidates are available online. Comments are due January 5, 2022. Comments can be submitted through Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0415. Information considered to be confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute should not be submitted electronically. EPA notes that it will not post copyrighted material without explicit permission of the copyright holder.
 
EPA notes that it published ten final risk evaluations between 2020 and 2021 under TSCA as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. During the course of preparing many of these final risk evaluations, the previous Administration made a policy decision that EPA not assess air and water exposure pathways that fall under the jurisdiction of other EPA-administered laws. This policy decision was reversed in June 2021. EPA states that it is presenting Version 1.0 of a screening level methodology for assessing potential air and water pathway chemical exposures to fenceline communities. Along with presenting this methodology, EPA will also present results of applying the screening methodology (case studies) to 1-bromopropane (air pathway), N-methylpyrrolidone (water pathway), and methylene chloride (air and water pathway). The review will take place during a public meeting anticipated for March 15-17, 2022. Registration instructions will be announced on the SACC website in early February 2022.


 
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of the Draft Systematic Review Protocol Supporting TSCA Risk Evaluations for Chemical Substances (Draft Protocol) on December 20, 2021. 86 Fed. Reg. 71891. According to EPA, the Draft Protocol includes a revised generic approach for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)-related approaches accounting for previous peer review comments from the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) reviews of risk evaluations on the first ten chemical assessments and more recent recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) review of the Application of Systematic Review in TSCA Risk Evaluations. EPA states that in addition to the revised, generic approach, the peer review package will include appendices containing chemical-specific information that is relevant for search strings and screening statements and data evaluation criteria for the next chemical risk evaluations being conducted by the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). The Draft Protocol provides specific details of the systematic reviews for the individual chemicals listed below:

o-Dichlorobenzene
p-Dichlorobenzene
1,2-Dichloroethane
trans-1,2- Dichloroethylene
1,1,2-Trichloroethane
1,2-Dichloropropane
1,1-Dichloroethane
Ethylene dibromide
1,3-Butadiene
1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta [g]-2-benzopyran (HHCB)
4,4'-(1-Methylethylidene)bis[2, 6-dibromophenol] (TBBPA)
Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP)
Phosphoric acid, triphenyl ester (TPP)
Formaldehyde
Phthalic anhydride
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) (1,2-Benzene-dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- dibutyl ester)
Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) -- 1,2-Benzene-dicarboxylic acid, 1-butyl 2(phenylmethyl) ester
Di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) -- (1,2-Benzene-dicarboxylic acid, 1,2-bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester)
Di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP) -- (1,2-Benzene-dicarboxylic acid, 1,2-bis-(2-methylpropyl) ester)
Dicyclohexyl phthalate
Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP)
Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
Octamethylcyclotetra-siloxane (Cyclotetrasiloxane, 2,2,4,4,6,6,8,8-octamethyl-) (D4)
Asbestos 2 (including Libby Amphibole Asbestos [LAA] and its tremolite, winchite, and richterite constituents)
1,4-Dioxane supplement
 
EPA invites the public to provide input on the Draft Protocol via Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0414. Comments are due February 18, 2022.
SACC will hold a virtual three-day peer review public meeting to consider and review the Draft Protocol on April 19-21, 2022. Stakeholders must register online to receive the webcast meeting link and audio teleconference information. Registration instructions will be announced on the SACC website by early March 2022. After the public meeting, SACC will prepare meeting minutes summarizing its recommendations to EPA. The meeting minutes will be posted on the SACC website and in the relevant docket.
 
More information and a detailed commentary will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On October 27, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested public nominations of scientific experts to consider for service as ad hoc reviewers assisting the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) with two peer review topics anticipated for early 2022: the draft EPA Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Systematic Review Protocol and the draft EPA TSCA Screening Level Approach for Assessing Ambient Air and Water Exposures to Fenceline Communities. 86 Fed. Reg. 59382. EPA states that individuals nominated should have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Systematic review: Individuals nominated for peer review of the draft systematic review protocol should have expertise in one or more of the following areas: systematic review approaches of human health and ecological hazard, exposure topics, and fate. All experts, including those representing other fields of interest, who have experience with engineering, machine learning, artificial intelligence techniques, and natural language processing approaches as applied to systematic review are also needed. EPA states that understanding the TSCA risk evaluation process “is highly desirable for the context of this peer review.”
  • Exposures to fenceline communities: Individuals nominated for peer review of the draft EPA TSCA Screening Level Approach for Assessing Ambient Air and Water Exposures to Fenceline Communities should have expertise in one or more of the following areas: chemical fate and transport via ambient air and water pathways; atmospheric modeling of fate, transport, and human exposures; human health, exposure, and risk assessment for airborne and/or waterborne chemicals; expertise estimating environmental air releases of chemicals from a variety of sources and databases such as Chemical Data Reporting (CDR); experience developing air dispersion methodologies and/or models to estimate ambient air concentrations and impacts to human populations; expertise estimating environmental water releases of chemicals from a variety of sources and databases such as CDR, Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), and Discharge Monitoring Report; experience developing methodologies and/or models to estimate chemical concentrations in ambient/source/drinking water and impacts to human populations; and public health protection for at-risk communities.

EPA states that any interested person or organization may nominate qualified individuals to be considered prospective candidates for these reviews. Individuals may also self-nominate. Nominations are due November 17, 2021.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On June 15, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appointed nine new members to serve on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). Additionally, EPA appointed a new Chair and reappointed seven existing members. In EPA’s July 13, 2021, announcement, EPA notes that members of the TSCA SACC serve staggered terms of appointment, generally of three years. They possess expertise in scientific and technical fields relevant to chemical risk assessment and pollution prevention, including human health and ecological risk assessment and chemical exposure to susceptible life stages and subpopulations. EPA states that in addition to scientific expertise, members also have backgrounds and experiences that will contribute to the diversity of scientific viewpoints, including professional experiences in government, public health, industry, and other groups. According to EPA, TSCA SACC serves as a primary scientific peer review mechanism of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) and is structured to provide independent scientific advice and recommendations to EPA on the scientific basis for risk assessments, methodologies, and pollution prevention measures and approaches for chemicals regulated under TSCA.


 
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