By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 16, 2020, that it is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profits to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide advice and recommendations to two Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panels. There will be one Panel for methylene chloride and one Panel for 1-bromopropane (1-BP). According to EPA, each Panel will focus on EPA’s development of proposed rules to address unreasonable risks identified in EPA’s recently completed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations for these chemicals. As reported in our June 25, 2020, memorandum, and August 11, 2020, memorandum, EPA’s final risk evaluations showed unreasonable risks to workers and consumers under certain conditions of use. EPA is now moving to the risk management step in the TSCA process by working to draft regulations to protect public health from the unreasonable risks identified in the final risk evaluations.
According to EPA, the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish an SBAR Panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBAR Panels will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA. The SBAR Panels will select SERs to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise the Panel on the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities. EPA states that it is seeking self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. EPA notes that other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted online for the methylene chloride and 1-BP SBAR Panels and must be received by September 30, 2020.
EPA states that in addition to engaging with small businesses, it “is executing a robust outreach effort on risk management that includes one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, and environmental justice communities.” EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulations.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a September 2, 2020, blog item by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, entitled “Advancing Chemical Safety by Listening to You.” Dunn describes how EPA will move from risk evaluation to risk management. As reported in our September 9, 2020, blog item, EPA will hold webinars on September 16 and September 30, 2020, on its final risk evaluations for methylene chloride and 1-bromopropane, as well as one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, environmental justice communities, and small businesses. Dunn states that EPA will use these opportunities “to educate the public and our stakeholders on what we found in our final risk evaluations, the risk management process required by TSCA, which options are available to us for managing unreasonable risk, and what that means for all of you moving forward.” EPA will also seek input on potential risk management approaches, their effectiveness, and any impacts those approaches might have on businesses. According to Dunn, EPA will use this feedback to develop proposed regulations “that are both protective and practical.” Dunn notes that there are several actions EPA can take to address the unreasonable risks it has found, “including banning or phasing out certain uses of a chemical, requiring warning labels and other special instructions on how a chemical can be used, recordkeeping/testing, and requiring manufacturers to notify distributors of any unreasonable risks.” Dunn encourages stakeholders to take advantage of these engagement opportunities. EPA is “relying on you to ask questions, raise concerns, bring things to our attention that we may not have considered, and to provide us with information we may not already have.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 8, 2020, a “broad public engagement and outreach effort” to discuss how EPA will approach the rulemaking process to address unreasonable risks found in final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) chemical risk evaluations. After issuing the first two final risk evaluations, methylene chloride and 1-bromopropane, EPA states that it “is moving into the risk management phase and is hosting a robust process to gain important feedback from stakeholders on the options for managing those risks.” EPA will hold two public webinars to kick off this outreach effort:
- The first webinar, scheduled for September 16, 2020, will feature a discussion of the findings from the final risk evaluation for methylene chloride. More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation is available in our June 25, 2020, memorandum; and
- The second webinar, scheduled for September 30, 2020, will include a discussion of the findings from the final risk evaluation for 1-bromopropane. More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation is available in our August 11, 2020, memorandum.
According to EPA, each webinar will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management process and the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks.
EPA intends to schedule additional public webinars as it begins the risk management process for chemicals with unreasonable risks. EPA states that it will also begin one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, environmental justice communities, and small businesses. EPA notes that there will be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulation.
According to EPA, there are several actions it can take under TSCA to address unreasonable risks, including banning a chemical; restricting the manufacturing, processing, distribution, or use; requiring warning labels/testing; and requiring manufacturers to notify distributors of any unreasonable risks. EPA has up to one year after issuing a final risk evaluation to propose and take public comments on any risk management actions.
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.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On July 27, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated a final significant use rule (SNUR) for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances. 85 Fed. Reg. 45109. The final SNUR requires persons to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture (including import) or processing of these chemical substances for the significant new uses described in the notice. The required significant new use notification initiates EPA’s evaluation of the conditions of use associated with the significant new use. Manufacturing (including import) or processing for the significant new use are 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. EPA notes that as with any SNUR, the final rule excludes ongoing uses as ongoing uses cannot be subject to a SNUR. The final rule will be effective September 25, 2020. More information on the final SNUR is available in our July 27, 2020, memorandum.
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.
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.
On June 24, 2020, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health presented “TSCA Reform -- Four Years Later.” A full recording of the seminar, including a keynote address by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and comments by the Hon. John Shimkus U.S. Representative, 15th District of Illinois, is available to watch now.
This complimentary all-day virtual seminar marked the fourth Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Annual Conference, with top EPA officials and industry leaders reflecting on the accomplishments and challenges since the implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Amendments and where TSCA stands today. Panelists covered “TSCA Implementation: Where Are We Now?,” “Science Policy Issues,” and “Regulatory and Policy Issues” while offering unique insights into the decision-making process of EPA.
Building on the timely information shared during this event, B&C’s All Things Chemical ™ podcast has released an exclusive interview with Alexandra Dunn focusing on the current state of TSCA, “TSCA at Four — A Conversation with Alexandra Dunn, OCSPP AA.” Lynn L. Bergeson and Alexandra Dunn focused their discussion on the implementation of the amendments to TSCA, which Congress enacted in 2016. As pollution prevention is an integral part of EPA’s mission, this episode also focuses on initiatives under way to introduce safer and greener chemicals. Finally, the discussion includes a look ahead to what is on EPA’s agenda for the remainder of the year, which promises to be extraordinarily busy.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On June 3, 2020, the American Coatings Association (ACA), National Association of Manufacturers, Toy Association, National Association of Home Builders, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a risk management procedural rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to ACA’s June 15, 2020, press release, ACA “believes that a procedural rule would provide guard rails to ensure consistency, transparency and effective public communication in developing risk mitigation requirements for companies following EPA completion of a Risk Evaluation under TSCA.” ACA states that a procedural rule “is needed to establish a central point of reference for all requirements and considerations involved in crafting a risk management rule regulating a specific chemical.” The petitioners ask EPA to implement an updated risk management procedural rule addressing considerations under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). According to the press release, the petition lists and describes various risk mitigation considerations under the Lautenberg Act’s framework that should be addressed in a procedural rule, including considerations related to transparency, deadlines for compliance, notice, effective dates, exemptions for critical or essential use, coordination with and/or delegation to other agencies, and processes to amend a risk mitigation rule. ACA states that EPA has 90 days from filing to grant or deny the petition. If EPA grants the petition, EPA can enter into a public rulemaking process, as requested by petitioners, though it is not required to do so. ACA notes that while the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) provides that “rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice” are exempt from notice and comment requirements, “petitioners believe that EPA should publish the requested section 6 risk management procedural rule for notice and comment because the information and opinions supplied by the public will inform the Agency’s views.”
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.