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.

On July 22, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted on its website the first four Section 5(a)(3) determinations for premanufacture notices (PMN) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Pub. L. No. 114-182) (new TSCA). All four of the new chemicals were determined to satisfy the "not likely to present an unreasonable risk" determination at Section 5(a)(3)(C). It is notable that all four determinations relied on structure activity relationship (SAR) analyses and data on analogs.

In all four cases, EPA found low potential for health hazards and low potential for environmental hazards (low/low). EPA estimated that each substance has some degree of persistence (from limited persistence to very persistent) and that all four have a low potential for bioaccumulation. Based on our experience with the new chemicals program under TSCA prior to new TSCA, when EPA made a low/low hazard call and either a low potential for persistence or a low potential for bioaccumulation, EPA "dropped" the submissions from further review, avoiding the time and expense of performing exposure assessments on substances of low potential hazard.

Under new TSCA, to make a Section 5(a)(3)(C) determination, EPA must identify potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations (PESS) that are relevant under conditions of use. In these four Section 5(a)(3)(C) determinations, EPA identified known or reasonably foreseeable uses in addition to the uses identified in the PMNs. EPA identified the PESS under the intended use as workers for all four cases. We note that EPA identified consumers as a PESS if the substance notified in P-15-0281 was to be used as a lubricant or lubricant additive (the known or reasonably foreseen use that EPA identified). Even considering the PESS, EPA has concluded that a low hazard finding is sufficient to support a "not likely to present" finding under Section 5(a)(3)(C) and did not perform a formal exposure assessment. Since EPA has published the Section 5(a)(3)(C) findings, per Section 5(g), the submitters of these four PMNs may commence manufacturing without waiting for the remaining portion of the 90-day review period to expire.

PMN Generic name Use(s):
Intended
Known/foreseen
Persistence Bioaccumulation Health Hazard Environmental Hazard
P-16-0281 Fatty alcohols-dimers, trimers, polymers Reactive polyol
Lubricant and lubricant additive
Persistent Low Low Low
P-16-0292 Depolymerized waste plastics Intermediate for use in manufacture of polymers
Lubricant and lubricant additive
Very Persistent Low Low Low
P-16-0301 Propyl silsesquioxanes, hydrogen-terminated Intermediate
Lubricant and lubricant additive
Limited Persistence Low Low Low
P-16-0302 Organic modified propyl sisesquioxane Plastic additive
Finishing agent
Very Persistent Low Low Low

Commentary

EPA determined that all four new chemicals satisfy the "not likely to present an unreasonable risk" determination under Section 5(a)(3)(C). The conditions of use for these chemicals indicate industrial scenarios that would point to workers as the PESS. The potential exposure to workers was not estimated. Instead, the determination of not likely to present an unreasonable risk hinges on the low hazard potential for these chemicals. Three of the four chemicals were estimated to be persistent with two categorized as very persistent. The chemicals were estimated to have low potential for bioaccumulation. No information was provided about potential releases to water.

It is reassuring that the SAR was used to reach determinations about persistence, bioaccumulation, and hazard potential, including mention of category analysis. This suggests that EPA intends to maintain SAR as a basic component in its evaluation of new chemicals consistent with the provisions at Section 4(h) to reduce vertebrate animal testing and to maximize the use of existing hazard information.


 

On July 18, 2016, Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Environmental Report reported on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new chemical notice process, and included insight from industry leaders at Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) July 14, 2016, webinar, The New TSCA: Impacts on New and Existing Chemicals Programs. 

B&C Managing Partner Lynn L. Bergeson was quoted as saying that premanufacture notifications, or PMNs, that chemical manufacturers must submit before they can produce or import a new chemical, and significant new use notifications, which companies must submit before they can make or use certain chemicals in new ways, “need to be much more strategic, thoughtful and detailed.”

Both the old and newly amended TSCA state the EPA's “authority over chemical substances and mixtures should be exercised in such a manner as to not impede unduly or create unnecessary economic barriers to technological innovation,” Bergeson stated, referring to Section 2601(b)(3).  The new law makes “very consequential changes” to the new chemicals provisions of TSCA as EPA will have to balance carefully the requirements imposed by different sections of the law.

Richard A. Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, stated that the changes the amended law makes to EPA's new chemicals program “are not trivial.”  Further, the changes will make it easier for the public to understand why EPA concludes that new chemicals may or may not enter commerce, what restrictions it may impose on the uses of those chemicals, and why.

BNA’s article, “Detailed New Chemical Applications Needed to Boost Market Chances: Attorneys,” is available online, through paid subscription.


 

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) has learned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to convene a stakeholder workshop in Washington, D.C. on August 9-10, 2016, for a public dialogue on prioritization and risk evaluation.  We also understand that EPA may host an industry meeting on August 11-12, 2016, to consult on fees.  The dates and topics will be confirmed when EPA makes announcements in the Federal Register.


 

On June 22, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out its new Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act Frequent Questions webpage.  This webpage will be a resource for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform-related updates and implementation plans.  EPA has also posted a summary of key provisions, its six essential principles for reform of chemicals management legislation, the presentation from its informational webinar on June 30, 2016, in which EPA provided an overview of the new TSCA, and an unofficial version of TSCA as recently amended.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an Implementation Plan that outlines EPA’s plans for early activities and actions under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, legislation that significantly amends many of the provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The amended TSCA has been identified as Public Law Number (Pub. L. No.) 114-182.  EPA notes that the new law imposes new responsibilities on EPA, while providing “comparatively short” deadlines to implement them.  EPA “takes these responsibilities and deadlines seriously,” and intends for the Implementation Plan to be a roadmap of the major activities on which EPA will focus during the initial year of implementation.  EPA organizes the Implementation Plan by the statutory timeframes during which the activities must be completed, rather than by what is of importance to EPA.  EPA states that the Implementation Plan is a living document, and EPA will further develop it over time.  EPA cautions that the Implementation Plan “is NOT intended to be a comprehensive listing of all requirements in the new law.” 

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased that EPA is making strong early efforts to communicate and engage with stakeholders about its early implementation of the new TSCA and its thinking regarding specific provisions.  Completing the items listed in the Implementation Plan represents a prodigious amount of work for EPA over the coming months and years.  Stakeholders will need to be prepared to respond thoughtfully to rules, lists, and process descriptions as they appear in the Federal Register, or as they are posted.

More information on EPA’s Implementation Plan is available in our memorandum TSCA Reform: EPA Publishes First Year Implementation Plan.


 

On June 7, 2016, the Senate passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg) by voice vote and sent it to President Obama for signature. As reported in our May 26, 2016, memorandum, "An Analysis of Key Provisions and Fundamental Shifts in the Amended TSCA," the Act includes new requirements in Sections 4, 5, 6, and 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These new requirements, among others, will need to be met in promulgating currently proposed regulations, as well as in proposing/promulgating future regulations.

One important change in this regard is the way that Lautenberg changes the requirements on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it includes articles within the scope of Section 5(a)(2) Significant New Use Rules (SNUR). Several relatively recent SNURs, as proposed, included imported/processed articles within their scope and would be affected by this amendment if the article provisions are retained in a final rule. Examples include proposed SNURs on certain polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE), toluene diisocyanates (TDI), and long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate (PFAS) chemicals.

One interesting question to consider is the need for EPA to re-propose these SNURs if it intends to retain the requirements on imported/processed articles in the final rule. If these provisions are retained, it appears that EPA would need to re-propose the rule at a minimum to satisfy the requirement at Lautenberg Section 5(a)(5) that EPA make an affirmative finding that the reasonable potential for exposure to the chemical through the article or category of articles justifies notification.

In addition, EPA's Spring 2016 Regulatory agenda lists several SNURs under TSCA that are at the proposed rule stage, including SNURs for alkylpyrrolidone products and certain uses of trichloroethylene (TCE). These rulemakings would need to address the Lautenberg changes in the proposal.

The Spring 2016 Regulatory agenda also lists three proposed rulemakings under TSCA Section 6(a), and a TSCA Section 4 test rule. The former will be affected by Lautenberg while the latter may be affected depending on the approach taken as discussed in our memorandum.

Read the full memorandum,  TSCA:  What Effect Will the TSCA Amendments Have on Proposed and Future Rulemakings?, online.


 
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