By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On March 2, 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published its latest High Risk List, which includes 36 areas across the federal government vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement or needing broad-based transformation. According to GAO, five areas have regressed since 2019, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for assessing and controlling toxic chemicals. GAO’s report, High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas, states that this high-risk area declined in the monitoring criterion from a partially met rating in 2019 to a not met rating in 2021; three criteria in each of the two segments declined to a not met rating in 2021. GAO notes that the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program did not issue a completed chemical assessment between August 2018 and December 2020, and EPA (1) did not indicate how it was monitoring its assessment nomination process to ensure it was generating quality information about chemical assessment needs; and (2) lacked implementation steps and resource information in its strategic plan and metrics to define progress in the IRIS Program. Additionally, according to GAO, EPA’s programs supporting the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (1) did not complete workforce or workload planning to ensure the agency can meet TSCA deadlines; and (2) did not meet initial statutory deadlines for releasing its first ten chemical risk evaluations.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On October 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminded companies that if they filed a retrospective activity notice (Notice of Activity (NOA) Form A) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule and claimed the specific chemical identity as confidential business information (CBI), they have until November 1, 2020, to submit or amend their CBI substantiations. Companies that amend, update, or file new CBI substantiations must do so electronically via EPA’s Central Data Exchange.
On March 6, 2020, EPA promulgated a final rule on procedures for review of CBI claims made under TSCA. The final rule includes the requirements for regulated entities to substantiate certain CBI claims made under TSCA to protect the specific chemical identities of chemical substances on the confidential portion of the TSCA Inventory, and EPA’s plan for reviewing certain CBI claims for specific chemical identities. The substantiation requirements describe the applicable procedures and provide instructions for regulated entities. EPA sets out the review criteria and related procedures that it will use to complete the reviews within the five-year timeframe set in TSCA. More information is available in our February 28, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Releases Final Rule on Procedures for Review of CBI Claims for the Identity of Chemicals on the TSCA Inventory.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On August 17, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report entitled Lack of Planning Risks EPA’s Ability to Meet Toxic Substances Control Act Deadlines. OIG conducted the audit to determine whether EPA met the deadlines already imposed by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) in 2016, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and has the staff, resources, and management controls in place to meet future statutory deadlines. The Lautenberg Act required EPA to develop new rules for chemical prioritization for risk evaluation and risk evaluation for existing chemicals and to review all new chemical submissions and make a regulatory determination. OIG found that while EPA met several of its TSCA deadlines, it did not complete all ten required existing chemical risk evaluations by the June 19, 2020, deadline. OIG notes that because of statutory requirements, the number of required existing chemical risk evaluations doubled at the end of 2019, “risking the EPA’s ability to meet TSCA deadlines.”
OIG states that EPA’s ability to assess its TSCA workload -- and subsequently estimate the workforce levels necessary to achieve that workload -- “is critically important.” OIG notes that the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) has not publicly identified the additional staff and resources it needs to accomplish all mandated TSCA requirements. According to OIG, “OPPT’s resource planning is hindered by not complying with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management regulations, which requires developing a workforce plan to manage current and future workforce needs.”
OIG states that EPA’s program offices have not conducted a systematic workload analysis or identified workforce needs for budget justification purposes since 1987 and that this is also true for OPPT, which is responsible for implementing the TSCA amendments. According to OIG, though OPPT expects to hire more staff members to implement the TSCA amendments in fiscal year (FY) 2020, OPPT “lacks a workforce-and-workload analysis to successfully implement and meet the 2016 TSCA deadlines.” Additionally, OIG states, EPA’s annual plans for risk evaluations “were neither done in a timely manner nor met the statutory requirements to identify the resources needed to initiate or complete the risk evaluations for the year.”
OIG recommends that the assistant administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention: (1) publish the annual existing chemical plan including the anticipated implementation efforts and required resources; (2) conduct a workforce analysis to assess OPPT’s capability to implement the TSCA amendments; and (3) specify what skill gaps must be filled in FY 2021 to meet the TSCA requirements. According to OIG, EPA “provided acceptable corrective actions and estimated milestone dates for all recommendations.” OIG “consider[s] these recommendations resolved with corrective actions pending.”
Chemical manufacturers and processors have just over four months to submit Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) data by the November 30, 2020, close of the reporting period. To assist companies in that process, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) developed CDR Cross-Check™, an ingenious and cost-efficient tool to identify whether a company’s chemicals are subject to CDR reporting and if so, at what reporting threshold.
CDR Cross-Check will identify:
- Whether the chemical is listed as active or inactive;
- Whether the chemical was subject to specific TSCA regulatory actions in 2016;
- Whether the chemical is exempt; and
- What the reporting thresholds are based on the updated data released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 29, 2020.
Visit the CDR Cross-Check page on the Acta website for a sample report and information on how to use CDR Cross-Check.
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
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold its next Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) webinar on February 18, 2020, at 1:30-2:30 PM (EST). The webinar will provide an overview of the data in ECHO and guide users through using the site to answer environmental compliance and enforcement questions. EPA states that the focus of this session will be a collection of short, step-by-step demonstrations geared toward new and infrequent users. EPA will demonstrate the capabilities of the ECHO Facility Search to answer questions such as:
- How to search for a specific facility;
- How to search for facilities in a community; and
- How to search for facilities releasing a pollutant.
Registration is now open. ECHO video tutorials and recorded webinars are available at any time.
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 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, M.S.
On April 17, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of updated systematic review supplemental files with data evaluation scoring sheets as supporting documents for the draft risk evaluation for Colour Index (C. I.) Pigment Violet 29 (PV29) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 84 Fed. Reg. 16011. EPA states it is “seeking public comment on the draft risk evaluation for PV29 in light of the additional materials already made or being made publicly available.” In her April 16, 2019, blog item, Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, described the updated systematic review documents for PV29 as “a tool that guides our review and selection of scientific studies used to evaluate chemicals,” and that the updates were made “based on public input we received during the initial comment period.”
On March 22, 2019, EPA made 24 full study reports on PV29 available to the public, in some instances with information withheld as confidential business information (CBI) pursuant to EPA regulations. EPA has considered these materials in the risk evaluation process of PV29 and has also submitted these materials to the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). EPA states that comments submitted will be considered by the agency and also provided to the TSCA SACC peer review panel, which will have the opportunity to consider the comments during its discussions.
The comment period for the draft risk evaluation of CI PV29 closed on January 14, 2019, but via this notice is being extended. The Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the updated systematic review supplemental files lists a comment deadline of the same date as the notice -- April 17, 2019, but Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0604-0038, however, lists a comment deadline of May 17, 2019; it is most likely that the docket is correct in this instance especially considering that follows what was stated by Ms. Dunn in her blog item that in light of the new and updated information EPA has recently released, "we will be reopening the public comment on the draft risk evaluation for PV29. It is important that the public have the opportunity to provide input on all of the information EPA is considering before our risk evaluation is finalized, so we invite you to provide us with your feedback. The public comment period will reopen for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.
On March 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was releasing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process required by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). New TSCA requires EPA to designate 20 chemicals as “high-priority” for subsequent risk evaluation and 20 chemicals as “low-priority,” meaning that risk evaluation is not warranted at this time. The 20 high priority candidate chemicals include:
- Seven chlorinated solvents;
- Six phthalates;
- Four flame retardants;
- Formaldehyde (which has been studied by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program for many years);
- A fragrance additive; and
- A polymer pre-curser.
EPA is also currently determining whether to conduct a risk evaluation of two additional phthalates. The 20 low priority candidate chemicals have been selected from EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, which includes chemicals that have been evaluated and determined to meet EPA's safer choice criteria.
Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, stated that initiating a chemical for high or low prioritization “does not mean EPA has determined it poses unreasonable risk or no risk to human health or the environment,” however. EPA states that is it releasing this list “to provide the public an opportunity to submit relevant information such as the uses, hazards, and exposure for these chemicals.” EPA is scheduled to publish the notice regarding this list in the Federal Register on March 21, 2019. The pre-publication notice is available here. Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA is opening a docket for each of the 40 chemicals. EPA is then directed to complete the prioritization process in the next nine to 12 months, allowing EPA to designate 20 chemicals as high priority and 20 chemicals as low priority.
Please be on the lookout for our memorandum that will contain more information regarding EPA’s list. It will be posted on our Regulatory Developments webpage.