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.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) announced on January 5, 2022, that it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to disclose reports submitted pursuant to Section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to the complaint, PEER submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in November 2021 seeking records demonstrating how EPA deals with Section 8(e) reports. PEER states that it requested both Section 8(e) reports submitted to EPA and internal policies regarding publicly posting and using Section 8(e) reports. PEER notes that its FOIA request “built upon information reported in a November 2021 article in The Intercept noting that EPA had only posted one 8(e) report publicly since 2019 and describing disagreement over how the EPA processes 8(e) reports internally.”

In its announcement, PEER states that TSCA requires industry to notify EPA within 30 days when it obtains information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a chemical substance presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. According to PEER, in early 2019, EPA stopped posting these industry reports in its public-facing database or on an easily searchable internal database. While industry submitted and EPA published more than 1,000 substantial risk reports from 2017 through 2018, PEER states that since 2019, EPA has posted only one to the public database. EPA scientists informed PEER that another approximately 1,240 reports have been received but sequestered.

PEER states that “[a]n EPA spokesperson told a news reporter that the person who had been responsible for posting these reports had retired in December 2018; and the agency lacked fundings to replace this single employee. However, at the same time, the agency finances an online tool enabling chemical companies to track their products through the approval process – internally called the ‘pizza tracker.’”

PEER asks the court to enter an order declaring that EPA wrongfully withheld requested documents and to issue a permanent injunction directing EPA to disclose all wrongfully withheld documents.


 

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to provide our Forecast 2022 to TSCAblog® readers, offering our best informed judgment as to the trends and key developments we expect to see in the new year. In 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) will continue to focus on implementing the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg) amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), including the development of required risk evaluations and risk management actions on certain existing chemicals, review of and determinations on new chemical premanufacture notices (PMN), and issuance of a final rule requiring the reporting of hazard and exposure information on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In 2022, OPPT is also expected to initiate the prioritization for risk evaluation of certain chemicals to replace in the TSCA risk evaluation pipeline those “high-priority” chemicals for which risk evaluations may be completed in late 2022 or 2023. More details on this, and expected regulatory changes of all varieties, are available in our Forecast for U.S. Federal and International Chemical Regulatory Policy 2022.

WEBINAR
What to Expect in Chemicals in 2022
January 26, 2022, 12:00 p.m. EST
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B&C will be presenting a complimentary webinar, “What to Expect in Chemicals in 2022,” focusing on themes outlined in the forecast. Join Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner; Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry; and James V. Aidala, Senior Government Affairs Consultant, for this informative and forward-looking webinar.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 27, 2021, that it is expanding the scope of Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements to include certain contract sterilization facilities that are not currently reporting on ethylene oxide releases. EPA states that under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), “the EPA Administrator has the discretionary authority to extend TRI reporting requirements to specific facilities based on a chemical’s toxicity, the facility’s proximity to other facilities that release the chemical or to population centers, any history of releases of the chemical at the facility, or other factors the Administrator deems appropriate.” According to EPA, exposure to ethylene oxide can cause cancer in humans and damage DNA. Other effects include eye, skin, nose, throat, and lung irritation, as well as harm to the brain and nervous system. Workers in facilities that use ethylene oxide and people in communities located adjacent to these facilities, including historically underserved communities, have the highest chance of being exposed to ethylene oxide. EPA notes that because their bodies are still growing, children are expected to be more susceptible to the toxic effects caused by ethylene oxide.
 
In October 2021, EPA sent letters to 31 facilities providing notice that EPA was considering exercising its discretionary authority. After corresponding with many of the facilities, EPA has issued a determination extending TRI reporting requirements to 29 of the 31 facilities for ethylene oxide and to 16 of the 31 facilities for ethylene glycol. According to EPA, because ethylene glycol is produced using ethylene oxide, these chemicals may co-occur at facilities. EPA states that it believes these 29 contract sterilization facilities, which do not currently report to TRI, use the highest amounts of ethylene oxide in the contract sterilization sector. The facilities are likely to exceed the 10,000 pounds per year “otherwise used” TRI reporting threshold for ethylene oxide. EPA notes that it considered additional factors, such as the facilities’ proximity to a population center (e.g., the number of people, including children under the age of five living near the facilities), their history of releases of ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol (e.g., past receipt of TRI reporting forms on ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol from these facilities), and other factors the Administrator deemed appropriate (e.g., proximity of the facilities to nearby schools and communities, especially those with potential environmental justice concerns and concerns for facility workers).
 
EPA did not to extend TRI reporting requirements to two of the 31 facilities initially contacted. According to EPA, one of the facilities conveyed to EPA that they had sold the establishment they previously used for sterilization and no longer perform sterilization work at that facility. Another facility informed EPA that their facility uses ethylene oxide in quantities far below the amount that would trigger TRI reporting in a year due to their sterilization technology and scale of operations.
 
Beginning in January 2022, these 29 facilities should start tracking their activities involving ethylene oxide (and ethylene glycol, if applicable) releases and other waste management quantities as required by EPCRA, similar to any other facility subject to TRI reporting requirements. If reporting thresholds are met, the facilities must submit TRI data beginning in 2023.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reopened the online dockets for 20 high-priority substances. According to the December 9, 2021, memorandum authorizing the re-opening of the dockets, EPA is re-opening these dockets to receive use, hazard, exposure, and any other information that can help inform their risk evaluations. Information must be submitted by June 9, 2022, when EPA will close the dockets. Information submitted to the docket should be identified by the docket identification (ID) number associated with the relevant chemical. The 20 high-priority chemicals are:

  • p-Dichlorobenzene;
  • 1,2-Dichloroethane;
  • trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene;
  • o-Dichlorobenzene;
  • 1,1,2-Trichloroethane;
  • 1,2-Dichloropropane;
  • 1,1-Dichloroethane;
  • 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;
  • 4,4'-(1-Methylethylidene)bis[2,6-dibromophenol] (TBBPA);
  • Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP);
  • Phosphoric acid, triphenyl ester (TPP);
  • Ethylene dibromide;
  • 1,3-Butadiene;
  • 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta [g]-2-benzopyran (HHCB);
  • Formaldehyde; and
  • Phthalic anhydride.

The docket ID number and contact information for each chemical lead is available in the memorandum.


 

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 December 16, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposed rule under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) on asbestos (part 1: chrysotile asbestos). According to an item in the fall 2021 Unified Agenda, the TSCA Section 6(a) rulemaking is needed to address the unreasonable risks of chrysotile asbestos that were identified in a risk evaluation completed under TSCA Section 6(b). EPA reviewed the exposures and hazards of chrysotile asbestos, the magnitude of risk, exposed populations, severity of the hazard, uncertainties, and other factors. As reported in our January 4, 2021, memorandum on the final risk evaluation, EPA found unreasonable risks to human health for the following uses of chrysotile asbestos:

  • Consumers and Bystanders: EPA found unreasonable risks to consumers and bystanders from all consumer uses of chrysotile asbestos. Most consumer products containing chrysotile asbestos have been discontinued. Consumer products still available and for which EPA found unreasonable risk include aftermarket automotive brakes/linings and certain gaskets. Risks to consumers can come from the inhalation of chrysotile asbestos; and
     
  • Workers and Occupational Non-Users (ONU): Commercial chrysotile asbestos uses for which EPA found unreasonable risk to workers include chlor-alkali diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes/linings, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets. Additionally, EPA found unreasonable risks to workers nearby but not in direct contact with chrysotile asbestos for the use of chlor-alkali diaphragms, sheet gaskets, brake blocks, and other gaskets. Risks to workers and ONUs can come from the inhalation of chrysotile asbestos.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the availability of its fiscal year (FY) 2022 oversight plan on December 14, 2021. According to OIG, the plan reflects the priority work that the OIG believes is necessary to keep EPA, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), and Congress fully informed about issues relating to the administration of EPA programs and operations. The planned oversight projects concerning Ensuring the Safe Use of Chemicals include:

  • Audit of EPA’s Management of New Chemical Risk Assessments Conducted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): Determine the extent to which EPA is using and complying with applicable records-management and quality-assurance requirements and employee performance standards to review and approve new chemicals under TSCA to manage human health and environmental risks;
     
  • Evaluation of EPA Regions’ Oversight Responsibilities for State and Tribal Drinking Water Certification Programs: Determine whether select EPA regions are fulfilling oversight responsibilities for drinking water certification programs in states and tribal nations;
     
  • Evaluation of EPA’s Use of Pesticide Incident-Reporting Data: Determine whether EPA uses pesticide incident-reporting data to prevent unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment;
     
  • Evaluation of Implementation of EPA’s Federal Certification for Applicators and Dealers of Restricted-Use Pesticides within Indian Country: Determine how EPA monitors and enforces the requirements for restricted-use pesticide applicators (private and commercial) and restricted-use pesticide dealers in Indian Country;
     
  • Evaluation of EPA’s Progress toward Providing States with Clear Benchmarks to Address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Drinking Water: Determine why EPA has not established a mandatory limit for PFAS in drinking water; what challenges may prevent EPA from setting such a limit; and what EPA’s plan -- if one exists -- is for implementing such a limit; and
     
  • Evaluation of EPA’s Progress to Identify Key Regulatory Stakeholders for TSCA Existing Chemical Risk Management: Determine whether EPA identified and partnered with key regulatory stakeholders and developed a process to coordinate the regulation of occupational exposures from existing chemicals under TSCA.

Ongoing projects concerning Ensuring the Safe Use of Chemicals include:

  • Evaluation of EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review for Pesticide 1,3-Dichloropropene: Evaluate the extent to which EPA followed policies and procedures in developing the cancer assessment for the 1,3-dichloropropene pesticide registration review decision to prevent unreasonable adverse effects on human health; and
     
  • Evaluation of EPA’s Overdue Residual Risk and Technology Reviews: Evaluate whether EPA has conducted residual risk and technology reviews in a timely manner, as required for EPA to revise standards, as needed, to protect the public from air toxics emitted by stationary sources.

Planned and ongoing projects concerning Safeguarding Scientific Integrity Principles include:

  • Congressional Request: Evaluation of EPA’s Changes to Final Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Significant New Use Rule (SNUR): Determine the extent to which EPA followed applicable policies, procedures, and guidance for the changes made to the Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances SNUR between the EPA Administrator’s signing of the final SNUR on June 22, 2020, and the publication of the final SNUR in the Federal Register on July 27, 2020; and
     
  • Evaluation of EPA’s January 2021 Perfluorobutane Sulfonic Acid (PFBS) Toxicity Assessment: Determine whether EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) followed applicable policies and procedures in the development and publication of the January 19, 2021, PFBS toxicity assessment.

OIG states that it is important to note that its planning efforts “are not static and that the projects included herein may be modified throughout the year as challenges and risks for the EPA and the CSB evolve and emerge.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 30, 2021, the release of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) external peer review report of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) Staff Handbook for Developing Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Assessments (IRIS Handbook). EPA states that the IRIS Handbook provides standard operating procedures for staffers developing IRIS assessments and includes systematic review approaches that promote consistency and ensure that contributors understand how the assessment components are developed.
 
The NASEM committee found that the IRIS Handbook “reflects the significant improvements that EPA has made in its IRIS assessment process.” For instance, according to the report, the IRIS Handbook describes the inclusion of “sophisticated, state-of-the-art methods that use systematic evidence maps to summarize literature characteristics for scoping and systematic review methods for hazard identification.” The committee acknowledges that the IRIS program is “clearly helping” to advance the science of systematic review as applied to hazard identification. The report states that the committee “recognizes that EPA faces challenges in implementing many of the methods for the IRIS assessment process and is impressed and encouraged by the progress that the IRIS program has made to date.” The committee suggests that the methods for developing IRIS assessments can serve as a model for other EPA programs implementing systematic review methods.
 
The committee found that the Handbook does not consistently convey the strengths and advances in methodology for the IRIS assessment process in an even and clear manner, however. The report includes the committee’s recommendations to ensure the IRIS Handbook meets its objectives of providing transparency about the IRIS assessment process and providing operational instructions for those conducting the assessments.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On November 17, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of its response to an August 16, 2021, petition filed under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 86 Fed. Reg. 64129. William D. Bush requested that EPA determine that the “chemical mixtures contained within cosmetics present an unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment,” and issue a rule or order under TSCA to “eliminate the hazardous chemicals used in mixtures [in cosmetics].” EPA states that after “careful consideration,” it has denied the petition. EPA notes that TSCA Section 3(2)(B) excludes “cosmetic” from the definition of “chemical substance” when manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce for use as a cosmetic. Cosmetics, and any combination of chemicals contained therein, are thus not chemical substances under TSCA when manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce for use as a cosmetic. EPA states that to the extent the petition seeks a TSCA Section 6 action on “cosmetics” when manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce as cosmetics, the requested actions are not within its jurisdiction under TSCA. In addition, according to EPA, to the extent the petition seeks action on “chemical substances” within the TSCA Section 3(2) definition of that term, EPA finds that the petition did not set forth facts establishing that it is necessary for EPA to initiate an appropriate proceeding pursuant to TSCA Section 21. In particular, according to EPA, the petition did not identify the disposal of any particular chemical substance(s) or mixture(s) that could support a determination of unreasonable risk to the environment and, therefore, did not set forth sufficient facts establishing that it is necessary to issue a TSCA Section 6(a) rule addressing cosmetic disposal.


 
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