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.
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By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, and Holly M. Williams

During the week of June 15, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California heard from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final three witnesses:  Dr. Joyce Tsuji, Dr. Ellen Chang, and Dr. Tala Henry.  Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. EPA, Case No. 3:17-cv-02162-EMC.  Dr. Tsuji did not dispute that fluoride can be a neurotoxin at “high enough levels.”  Dr. Tsuji contended that the scientific literature remains too limited to establish linkage between fluoride and adverse health outcomes.  Dr. Chang testified on the application of systematic review to chemical usage, a process EPA explored at length with its first witness, Dr. Kris Thayer, as reported in our June 12, 2020, blog item.

Dr. Henry defended the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics’ (OPPT) decision to deny plaintiffs’ Section 21 petition.  As Director of EPA's Risk Assessment Division, Dr. Henry expressed the view that “robust science” warranted rejection of the petition.  On June 17, 2020, plaintiffs called back Dr. Kathleen Thiessen as a rebuttal witness, who testified briefly in response to the criticism by EPA’s witnesses of plaintiffs’ methodology in studies mentioned earlier in the trial. After Dr. Thiessen’s testimony, the trial moved to closing arguments.

Plaintiffs’ closing argument asserted that EPA failed to quantify what fluoride levels were dangerous to humans.  District Judge Edward M. Chen interceded to inquire in this regard as tests showing neurotoxicity were well above the level in fluoridation chemicals introduced into water.  Plaintiffs argued the necessity of taking into account inter-species differences from animal testing, as well as human-to-human differences.  Plaintiffs stated that this lack of data seriously hinders determining at what level susceptibility can be found.

EPA responded in its closing that studies relied on by plaintiffs are limited by confounding variables, lack of comparison groups, and double-blind methodologies.  Additionally, EPA noted inconsistencies among the reports plaintiffs cited.  Judge Chen followed up with questions regarding the counter-intuitive findings of effects from fluoride exposure in adult rats but not infants and wanted to confirm if this was a byproduct of the quality of research.  EPA replied that there is insufficient evidence to defend an IQ-urine connection.  Judge Chen also asked if the court could find unreasonable risk from the chemical used by EPA without causation of neurological effects. EPA responded that the only standard provided in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regarding unreasonable risk is that which results from an evaluation of that risk, not causation.

After hearing closing arguments, Judge Chen noted that the evidence presented by both parties was not confined to the administrative record and that he allowed both parties to use evidence that was available after plaintiffs filed their petition in 2016 Judge Chen asked plaintiffs and EPA to consider how to reach an agreement, including plaintiffs submitting a new petition or EPA reconsidering its denial of the petition.  Pending Judge Chen's request for additional briefing, there was no ruling on what could potentially be the first half of a bifurcated trial.  A status conference is tentatively scheduled for August 6, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. (PDT).


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will hold a public webinar on July 1, 2020, to receive information from interested parties about changes to CPSC’s Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database, www.SaferProducts.gov, that are in development to improve the website’s usefulness and navigability.  CPSC states in its June 18, 2020, Federal Register notice that based, in part, on input from a March 2019 public hearing, CPSC is holding the webinar to show the changes to the website that are in development.  85 Fed. Reg. 36838.  According to CPSC, these changes seek to improve usability and navigability on the website; make the website more mobile friendly with other devices, including smartphones and tablets; and improve cross-browser compatibility.  Participants who register for the webinar will have an opportunity to see these changes and provide feedback to CPSC through a moderated discussion.  All attendees should pre-register for the webinar.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On June 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  EPA states that this year’s winners “have developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that turn potential environmental challenges into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.”  The 2020 winners and their innovative technologies are:

  • Genomatica, San Diego, California, for creating Brontide™, a new brand of 1,3-butylene glycol, commonly used in cosmetics for moisture retention and as a carrier for plant extracts.  Butylene glycol is traditionally produced from fossil fuels.  Brontide™ is produced by fermenting E. coli using renewable sugars in a one-step production process, however.  This method reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the use of hazardous chemicals in the production process.
     
  • Merck, Rahway, New Jersey, for improving the process used to produce certain antiviral drugs used for the treatment of diseases including hepatitis C and HIV.  According to EPA, the new process improved manufacturing efficiency and sustainability of one important antiviral by more than 85 percent.  This method reduces waste and hazards associated with the existing process and results in substantial cost savings.
  • Johns Manville, Littleton, Colorado, for developing a biobased, formaldehyde-free thermoset binder for fiberglass reinforcement applications.  Thermoset binders are used to bind glass fibers of fiberglass mats used in carpet tile backing.  EPA states that this technology eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals, reduces water and energy use, and produces a product with a longer shelf life.
     
  • Professor Steven Skerlos, University of Michigan and Fusion Coolant Systems, for creating Pure-Cut™, an alternative to traditional metalworking fluids that uses high-pressure carbon dioxide instead of oil-based lubricants.  According to EPA, Pure-Cut™ can improve performance and machining tool life span compared to traditional metalworking fluids, while greatly reducing hazards to the environment and worker health.
     
  • Vestaron, Kalamazoo, Michigan, for producing a new biopesticide called Spear®.  This pesticide is based on a naturally occurring component inspired by spider venom that can effectively control target pests while showing no adverse effects on people, the environment, and non-target wildlife, such as fish and bees.  EPA notes that Spear® should provide growers with a new pest management tool that also lessens environmental impacts.

EPA plans to recognize the winners at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.  EPA and the American Chemical Society co-sponsor the awards.  An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2020 submissions and made recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners.


 
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This week's All Things Chemical™ Podcast will be of interest to readers of the TSCAblog™. A brief description of the episode written by Lynn L. Bergeson is below.

As we are now into June, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) aficionados will be quick to note that “new TSCA” is now almost four years old.  Passage in June 2016 of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act occasioned EPA’s implementation of a law that has transformed industrial chemical regulation in the United States.  This week, to mark Lautenberg’s fourth birthday, I sat down with Dr. Richard E. Engler, B&C’s Director of Chemistry and all-around expert on all things TSCA, to look back on what EPA stakeholders have achieved over the past four years, and to look forward to what to expect the remainder of this year and beyond.  We address the progress EPA has made in reviewing new chemical innovations, regulating existing industrial chemicals, what early challenges have been resolved, and a few of the frustrations that linger.  As a 17-year veteran of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and now an extremely busy and tops in his field private consultant, Rich knows TSCA from both sides, and his insights are always spot on.

Rich is a Ph.D. chemist who focuses here at B&C and our consulting affiliate, The Acta Group (Acta®), on all aspects of TSCA regulation and science policy.  In addition to his duties as a top chemist at EPA, Rich also headed EPA’s Green Chemistry Program.  Rich has reviewed more than 10,000 chemical notifications under TSCA and now is an indispensable part of our deep TSCA bench here at B&C and Acta.

ALL MATERIALS IN THIS PODCAST ARE PROVIDED SOLELY FOR INFORMATIONAL  AND ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES. THE MATERIALS ARE NOT INTENDED TO CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR THE PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES. ALL LEGAL QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ANSWERED DIRECTLY BY A LICENSED ATTORNEY PRACTICING IN THE APPLICABLE AREA OF LAW.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 12, 2020, that it is opening a public comment period for a manufacturer-requested risk evaluation of octamethylcyclotetra-siloxane (D4), a chemical used to make other silicone chemicals and as an ingredient in some personal care products.  EPA states that the manufacturer-requested risk evaluation of D4 is the third evaluation of this kind to be requested under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the public comment period and beginning a 45-day comment period.  EPA “welcomes all public comments on this request, particularly on the following”:

  • Any information not included in the manufacturer request that the commenters believe EPA would need to conduct a risk evaluation;
  • Additional conditions of use the Agency 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 is proposing to include in the risk evaluation.

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.  EPA has opened Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0443 for the request.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, and Holly M. Williams

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California began hearing oral arguments on June 8, 2020, in a case seeking a rulemaking under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water supplies.  Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. EPA, Case No. 3:17-cv-02162-EMC.  The plaintiffs filed suit following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of a TSCA Section 21 petition requesting it to exercise its Section 6 authority to prohibit the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to U.S. water supplies.  On June 12, 2020, Dr. Kathleen M. Thiessen testified as the final witness for the plaintiffs’ case-in-chief regarding risk analysis to determine a level of fluoride that does not produce adverse effects.  Thiessen also testified about a study that found correlation between fluoride intake and diminished thyroid productivity.  EPA’s first witness, Dr. Kristina Thayer, clarified the types of experimental biases and processes to vet bodies of evidence.  Earlier in the week, plaintiffs’ expert witnesses summarized the scientific literature on the adverse effects of fluoride on children’s development, including lowered IQ.  The experts have cited both animal and human studies.  EPA has questioned them at length regarding the discrepancies between male and female test subjects, especially in relation to prenatal fluoride exposure.  EPA has argued that the data presented by plaintiffs suffers from inconsistencies, flawed methodologies, and biases.  The trial will resume on Monday, June 15, 2020.  Readers interested in watching the trial remotely can find scheduling and Zoom information here.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a final significant new use rule (SNUR) on long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate (PFAS) chemical substances.  On March 3, 2020, EPA published a proposed supplemental SNUR for LCPFAC chemical substances that would make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of surface coatings on articles.  85 Fed. Reg. 12479.  Under the proposed supplemental SNUR, issued under Section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), this subset of LCPFAC chemical substances also includes the salts and precursors of these perfluorinated carboxylates.  The supplemental proposal would require importers to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the import of these chemical substances in certain articles for the significant new use described in the proposed SNUR.  The required significant new use notification would initiate EPA’s evaluation of the conditions of use associated with the intended significant new use.  Manufacturing (including import) or processing for the significant new use would be prohibited from commencing until EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and taken such actions as are required in association with that determination.  As noted in our February 28, 2020, memorandum, “Proposed Supplemental SNUR Would Remove Exemption for LCPFAC Chemical Substances Used as Surface Coatings on Articles,” one of the goals of the proposed supplemental SNUR is to establish the ground rules for EPA’s consideration of the article exemption in future SNUR actions.  The final SNUR that is under OMB review is not publicly available, so it remains to be seen whether EPA has successfully established policies and procedures that both align with statutory requirements and also are workable, effective, predictable, transparent, and justified scientifically.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled Further Efforts Needed to Uphold Scientific Integrity Policy at EPA.  OIG conducted an Agency-wide survey to determine whether EPA’s Scientific Integrity Policy is being implemented as intended to ensure scientific integrity throughout EPA.  OIG received 4,320 responses (a 23.5 percent response rate), showing that 3,987 respondents were aware of or had some familiarity with the Scientific Integrity Policy.  According to OIG, among those respondents with a basis to judge, the majority (56 percent; 1,025 of 1,842) were satisfied with the overall implementation of the Policy.  OIG states that the survey also revealed some concerns with specific aspects of scientific integrity at EPA, including dissatisfaction with EPA’s culture of scientific integrity (59 percent; 1,425 of 2,402) and the release of scientific information to the public (57 percent; 1,049 of 1,842).  OIG recommends that EPA’s deputy administrator lead an effort to examine the causes associated with the scientific integrity concerns identified in the survey and communicate the results to EPA employees, including planned actions to address the causes.  OIG also made 11 recommendations to the EPA science advisor, including developing procedures for addressing and resolving allegations of scientific integrity violations, communicating the outcomes of reports of scientific integrity violations, and improving the release of scientific information to the public.  OIG states that EPA agreed with its recommendations and provided acceptable corrective actions.  According to OIG, EPA has completed two recommendations, and the others are resolved with corrective actions pending.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 1, 2020, the availability of the latest Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory.  EPA notes that this biannual update to the public TSCA Inventory is part of its regular posting of non-confidential TSCA Inventory data.  EPA plans the next regular update of the Inventory for early 2021.  According to EPA, the Inventory contains 86,405 chemicals, of which 41,587 are active in U.S commerce.  Other updates to the TSCA Inventory include updates to commercial activity data and updated regulatory flags, such as consent orders and significant new use rules (SNUR).

Tags: Inventory,

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On May 29, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updated data collected during the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) period.  EPA notes that the updated 2016 CDR data now include information that was previously classified as confidential business information (CBI), such as aggregate production volumes and site-specific production volumes.  EPA published an initial release of the 2016 CDR data in May 2017.  The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were signed into law during the 2016 CDR submission period and changed CDR CBI reporting requirements.  EPA states that as a result, it conducted “a thorough substantiation and verification process with companies that submitted 2016 CDR data.”  According to EPA, this process allowed it to determine which claims met the new legal standard and ensure that valid CBI claims remained protected.

Background

On March 17, 2020, EPA announced the availability of a final rule amending the CDR rule.  EPA states that some of the key revisions include simplifying reporting, including allowing manufacturers to use certain processing and use data codes already in use by many chemical manufacturers as part of international codes developed through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); updating requirements for asserting confidentiality claims to align with the requirements in amended TSCA; and adding reporting exemptions for specific types of byproducts manufactured in certain equipment.  Additionally, EPA is extending the reporting period for CDR data submitters from September 30, 2020, to November 30, 2020, to provide additional time for the regulated community to familiarize themselves with the amendments and to allow time for reporters to familiarize themselves with an updated public version of the reporting tool.  More information is available in our March 19, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Releases Final Amendments to CDR Rule, Extends Reporting Period.”

Our May 13, 2020, blog item, “New Reporting Procedure for Co-Manufacturers under TSCA CDR Rule May Catch Certain Manufacturers Off Guard,” notes that EPA has changed the way that toll manufacturing must be reported.  In this cycle, EPA will not accept reporting from only the contracting manufacturer in situations where a company contracts with another company (i.e., a toll manufacturer) for the production of chemicals.  In 2020, EPA has stated in multiple fora that for the 2020 reporting period, EPA will only accept manufacturing details from the actual producers, even if manufacturing was contracted by another company.  This change may come as a surprise, especially to producing companies that heretofore may not have reported under the CDR rule and instead relied on the contracting company to do so.

Tags: CBI, CDR

 
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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:

  1. 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
     
  2. 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.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on May 28, 2020, extending the comment and reporting period on the preliminary lists of manufacturers (including importers) subject to fees associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  85 Fed. Reg. 32036.  The new due date is June 15, 2020.  EPA states that it is extending the comment period in response to stakeholder feedback and to allow companies additional time to report, or self-identify, as to whether they are a manufacturer subject to fees for the next 20 TSCA risk evaluations.  EPA intends to issue final scope documents for the next 20 risk evaluations in summer 2020 and will publish the final list of fee payers no later than concurrently with the final scope documents.

EPA held a conference call on TSCA fees on April 16, 2020, and posted the slides and transcript for the call.  EPA’s web page on TSCA fees for EPA-initiated risk evaluations includes frequently asked questions.  Our March 2, 2020, memorandum, “The Essential Value of Forming TSCA Consortia,” provides information on forming a consortium.  More information on the 20 substances designated as high-priority substances is available in our December 20, 2019, memorandum, “Final List of High-Priority Chemicals Will Be Next to Undergo Risk Evaluation under TSCA.”


 
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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.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published its 2020 Annual Plan for Chemical Risk Evaluations under TSCA (Annual Plan).  Section 26(n) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to publish an annual plan at the beginning of each calendar year that identifies the chemical substances for which EPA expects to initiate or complete risk evaluations that year and the resources necessary for their completion, describes the status of each risk evaluation that has been initiated but not yet completed, and includes an updated schedule for completion of risk evaluations, if appropriate.  The Annual Plan states that in fiscal year (FY) 2020, EPA intends to complete final risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals.  As reported in our April 7 and April 20, 2020, blog items, EPA has published the draft scope documents for the risk evaluations to be conducted for the 20 high-priority substances designated in December 2019.  According to the Annual Plan, EPA expects to issue final draft scope documents in June 2020.  In accordance with statutory timelines, EPA states that it will publish final risk evaluations within three years of initiation, with a possible six-month extension.  In May 2019, EPA received manufacturer requests to conduct risk evaluations of diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP).  EPA expects to release draft scope documents in the third quarter of FY 2020, complying with statutory timelines.  In March 2020, EPA received a facially complete manufacturer request to conduct a risk evaluation on octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4).  EPA expects to ask for public comment on this request and make a final determination as to whether to grant this request within FY 2020.  EPA notes that it may receive additional requests in FY 2020 and will conduct the process to review these requests as directed in the Risk Evaluation Process Rule.  TSCA requires EPA to review fees and consider updating the fees rule every three years to ensure fees are adequate to defray 25 percent of the costs for implementing TSCA Sections 4, 5, 6, and 14, and to consult with stakeholders again if fees change.  In 2020, EPA expects to begin this process to review fees and propose certain exemptions to the current rule’s self-identification requirements associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations for manufacturers that import the chemical substance in an article, produce the chemical substance as a byproduct, and produce or import the chemical substance as an impurity.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On May 20, 2020, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held an oversight hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was the only witness.  During the hearing, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) questioned Wheeler about the risk evaluations being done under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), particularly the risk evaluation of asbestos.  Wheeler acknowledged that EPA probably will not meet the June 22, 2020, deadline for issuing final risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals.  According to Wheeler, EPA is spending more time on these first risk evaluations to make sure they get them right.  Wheeler noted that the peer reviews are taking longer than expected and that the interagency review process has taken longer than anticipated.  Wheeler stated that he thinks EPA is on track to have at least two of the first ten risk evaluations done by June 2020 and the remainder by the end of summer 2020.  Regarding the asbestos risk evaluation, EPA will do a separate supplemental risk evaluation on the legacy uses since EPA can likely complete the final risk evaluation of asbestos this summer.  Merkley asked Wheeler whether he would commit to examining all significant pathways of exposure to asbestos, including air, waste, and drinking water.  Wheeler responded that when a chemical under the TSCA review process is already being regulated under a different program, EPA decided early on that in setting out the parameters for the TSCA risk evaluations, it would not double regulate to focus its time on the areas of the chemicals that are unregulated at this point.  Wheeler states that the way to meet the strict deadlines required by TSCA is to allow the other programs that are already regulating aspects of those chemicals to continue to regulate them, whether it is a hazardous air pollutant under the air program or a regulation under the water program.


 
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