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
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 22, 2022, the release of the updated Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application and compliance guide for calendar year 2021 data reporting. According to EPA, the updates make it easier to report information about the supply, use, and trade of mercury. The mercury rule applies to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products (including pre-assembled products that contain mercury-added components) or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides). This information is required to be submitted every three years using the online MER application, accessed through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX).
 
EPA states that it updated the mercury inventory reporting rule compliance guide to reflect the new requirement to report pre-assembled products that contain mercury-added components, such as a watch with a mercury-added battery. According to EPA, the guide explains the requirements for manufacturers and importers to report information about the supply, use, and trade of mercury to EPA; provides an overview of the legal requirements; and describes how EPA intends to use the information it collects. Diagrams and examples are provided to help companies determine whether they must report information about mercury to EPA.
 
EPA updated the MER application to include a drop-down year list to allow users to report for previous reporting years and to make the system easier for EPA to maintain. According to EPA, the updated resources will help it carry out the statutory requirements to identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury and recommend actions to achieve further reductions in mercury use in the United States. This will further assist the United States in its implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The deadline to report 2021 data is July 1, 2022. More information on the mercury inventory reporting rule is available in our June 25, 2018, memorandum.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On November 8, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule revising the regulations associated with persons who must report data to the mercury inventory established under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 86 Fed. Reg. 61708. The revisions implement an order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on June 5, 2020, that vacated the exemption at 40 C.F.R. Section 713.7(b)(2) for persons who import pre-assembled products that contain a mercury-added component. As a result, such persons are now required to report pursuant to 40 C.F.R. Section 713.7(b). EPA states that the rule is effectuating the vacatur ordered by the Second Circuit by making necessary amendments to the corresponding text in 40 C.F.R. Section 713.7(b). The final rule will be effective on December 8, 2021. EPA states in its November 2, 2021, press release that the final rule “offers impacted communities adequate notice of the amended reporting requirements, as the deadline for reporting 2021 data is July 1, 2022.” EPA will update the mercury inventory reporting rule compliance guide and other supporting materials to reflect these new reporting requirements.
 
As reported in our June 25, 2018, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Final Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory,” the mercury rule and its reporting requirements apply to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to TSCA, such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides).


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the 2020 Mercury Inventory Report on the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States.  The report presents aggregated data submitted on imported mercury, mercury manufactured in the United States, imported mercury-added products, mercury-added products made in the United States, and mercury used in manufacturing processes.  The inventory report also provides a broad view of U.S. mercury stored, sold, and exported, as well as industry sectors and countries involved in the supply, use, and trade of mercury.  According to EPA, highlights of the report include:

  • No indication of imports or exports of elemental mercury into or out of the United States during the reporting year;
     
  • Continuation of the overall steady decline in the use of mercury in products, indicative of the growing presence and use of effective alternatives;
     
  • A decrease in the amount of mercury used in switches and relays manufactured in or imported into the United States -- data submitted also fill a significant information gap;
     
  • Only a single mercury-based manufacturing process identified as ongoing in the United States; and
     
  • Information relevant for U.S. implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

EPA notes that the 2020 Mercury Inventory Report is the first inventory published under the 2018 rule requiring reporting from persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process.  According to EPA, this means that the data presented in the 2020 report come directly from the companies that are using, manufacturing, or importing mercury, providing EPA and the public with more reliable and complete information on the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States.  EPA states that the initial 2017 inventory, on the other hand, was limited to publicly available data.  In addition, the 2020 report incorporates data from contextual reporting requirements, resulting “in more extensive information on the industries that purchase mercury-added products, countries of origin and destination for imports and exports, and the specific ways that mercury is used in certain manufacturing processes.”  More information will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On April 30, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would be hosting two webinars for companies, organizations, and individuals required to report under the Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The final rule applies to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to TSCA, such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides).

The first webinar, Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule, will provide background on reporting requirements under the final rule.  It will take place on May 21, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).  The 2018 reporting year is from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and the submission deadline for the 2018 reporting year is coming up on July 1, 2019.  Reporters are required to submit their information to EPA using the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application for the first time on July 1, 2019, and then every three years thereafter.  Based on the information collected, EPA will identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury and recommend actions to achieve further reductions in mercury use.  Following EPA’s presentation, webinar participants will have an opportunity to ask questions on reporting requirements under the final rule.  Registration is available online.

The second webinar, Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) Application, will demonstrate how to use the online MER application through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX), which is organized as a fill-in-the-blanks form with drop-down menus and lists of check-box options.  It will take place on May 23, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).  Registration is available online.

More information on the Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule is available in our June 25, 2018, memorandum “EPA Publishes Final Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory,” and in our March 19, 2019, memorandum “EPA Releases New Tools to Help Companies Meet July 1 Mercury Reporting Requirements.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On March 18, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new tools intended to help companies, organizations, and individuals fulfill their reporting requirements under the mercury reporting requirements rule.  Those required to report under the mercury rule can now do so online through the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application accessed through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX).  EPA states that it designed this reporting tool “to be user-friendly, with drop-down menus and lists of check-box options, to help make reporting easy and efficient.”  As reported in our June 25, 2018, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Final Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory,” the mercury rule applies to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides).  EPA will use data from the 2018 reporting year for the 2020 mercury inventory.  The 2018 reporting year is from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and the submission deadline for the 2018 reporting year is July 1, 2019.  Based on the information collected, EPA will identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury and recommend actions to achieve further reductions in mercury use.  More information is available in our memorandum.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and Carla N. Hutton

On June 22, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a prepublication version of the final rule regarding reporting requirements for applicable persons to provide information to assist in the preparation of an “inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States,” where “mercury” is defined as “elemental mercury” and “a mercury compound” (mercury).  The final rule applies to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides).  EPA will use data from the 2018 reporting year for the 2020 mercury inventory.  The 2018 reporting year is from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and the submission deadline for the 2018 reporting year is July 1, 2019.  The final rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for June 27, 2018

The reporting requirements include activities that are established TSCA terms, including manufacture, import, distribution in commerce, storage, and export.  EPA notes that the reporting requirements also apply to the otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process.  Persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process, are required to report amounts of mercury in pounds (lbs.) used in such activities during a designated reporting year.  Reporters must also identify specific mercury compounds, mercury-added products, manufacturing processes, and how mercury is used in manufacturing processes, as applicable, from preselected lists.  For certain activities, reporters must provide additional, contextual data.

The final reporting requirements do not apply to:  (1) persons who do not first manufacture, import, or otherwise intentionally use mercury; (2) persons who only generate, handle, or manage mercury-containing waste; (3) persons who only manufacture mercury as an impurity; and (4) persons engaged in activities involving mercury not with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage.  Within the category of persons who must report, there are certain persons who are not required to provide specific data elements.  To avoid reporting that is unnecessary or duplicative, the final rule includes certain exemptions for persons who already report for mercury and mercury-added products to the TSCA Section 8(a) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule and the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) Mercury-Added Products Database, respectively.

More detail is provided in our June 25, 2018, memorandum regarding the provisions of the final rule, including EPA’s rationale for fulfilling specific statutory provisions and terms.  While the final rule includes summaries of public comments received and EPA’s responses and determinations, EPA notes that some of these issues are discussed in greater detail in its Response to Comments.  EPA states that its Response to Comments will be available in Docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2017-0421, although it is not there at this time.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On June 22, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has met its statutory responsibilities under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) to release guidance and policy on confidential business information (CBI), a strategy to reduce animal testing, and a final mercury reporting rule.  As noted in our June 29, 2016, memorandum, “TSCA Reform:  EPA Publishes First Year Implementation Plan,” the Lautenberg Act included mandatory actions for EPA to complete by June 22, 2018, two years after former President Barack Obama signed the Act, which significantly amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA lists the following milestones that it has completed at the two-year anniversary:

In addition, registration is still available for Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.‘s (B&C®) June 25, 2018, complimentary webinar, “TSCA at 2: An Update on Implementation and Hot Topics.”  Speakers will include:

  • Nancy B. Beck, Ph.D., DABT®, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, EPA;
  • Misty L. Bogle, Global Product Stewardship Manager, Vertellus;
  • Michael Gould, EH&S Committee Chairman, RadTech North America; and
  • Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

More information on these developments will be available in our forthcoming memorandum and posted to our Recent Regulatory Developments web page, as well as in our subsequent TSCA blog items.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On May 7, 2018, the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule entitled Mercury; Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory

The OIRA 2018 Spring Regulatory Agenda for this rulemaking, item RIN 2070-AK22, states that EPA’s rulemaking to implement new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(b)(10)(D) will promulgate reporting requirements “for applicable persons to provide information to assist in the preparation of an ‘inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States,’ where ‘mercury’ is defined as ‘elemental mercury’ and ‘a mercury compound.’  The requirements would be applicable to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process.”

More information on the proposed rule issued in October 2017 is available in our blog item “EPA Issues Proposed Rule on Reporting Requirements for Mercury Inventory Under New TSCA.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On December 19, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register a notice extending the comment period for the proposed rule on reporting requirements for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mercury inventory for 16 days, from December 26, 2017, to January 11, 2018.  The notice states that “EPA received requests to extend the comment period and believes it is appropriate to do so … to give stakeholders additional time to assess the impacts of the proposal, review technical documents in the docket, and prepare comments.  The 2016 amendments TSCA require EPA to establish periodic mercury reporting requirements for any person that manufactures mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process to assist in the development of an inventory of mercury and other recommended actions.  EPA’s proposed rule, issued on October 26, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 49564), specifically requires reporting on the manufacture, import, distribution in commerce, storage, and export of mercury.  

More information on this proposed rule is available in our memorandum December 26, 2017, Deadline Approaching for Comments on EPA’s Proposed Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On October 26, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule on reporting requirements for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mercury inventory.  82 Fed. Reg. 49564.  Under TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(B), the mercury inventory, which includes mercury “supply, use, and trade” in the United States, is required to be published every three years.  Information on the 2017 mercury inventory report is available in our blog item "EPA Releases Inventory Report of Mercury Supply, Use, and Trade in the U.S."

Through this proposed rule, EPA is on its way to delivering timely on its mandate under TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(D) to promulgate a rule within two years of the enactment of new TSCA (by June 22, 2018) that will require “any person who manufactures [including import] mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process” to make periodic reports to EPA to assist in the preparation of the mercury inventory. 

TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(C) further directs to “identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury; and … recommend actions, including proposed revisions of Federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use.”  The proposed rule, however, states that “[a]t this time, EPA is not making such identifications or recommendations.” 

The proposed rule requests comments on several changes, including:

  • On the proposed limited data collection requirements, such as the identification of countries that manufacture, import, or export mercury-added products (i.e., countries of origin and destination), as well as the identification of purchasing or receiving industry sectors via North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes, to inform activities under the Minamata Convention on Mercury;
  • On whether to require one-time reporting for exports of the mercury compounds prohibited from export under TSCA Section 12(c)(7);
  • On its proposal to apply the proposed reporting requirements to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury, mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process regardless of the amount of mercury at issue;
  • On its proposal that because of the similarities in the intentional addition of mercury to manufacture a product and otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process, all quantities of mercury used in both activities should be reported without a reporting threshold;
  • On what kinds of information would be particularly important to address for small entities if EPA were to develop compliance guides tailored to small entities that will be required to comply with the reporting requirements;
  • On whether the proposed reporting requirements should apply to persons who do not manufacture or import mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process, but engage in the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States; and
  • On its proposal to require mandatory electronic reporting.

EPA also requests comments on the proposed timelines and reporting deadlines; and on the proposed interpretations of activities to be considered as part of supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States -- as described below.

For those who will need to report, EPA proposes the following reporting periods and deadlines:

  • The 2020 reporting year will be from January 1 to December 31, 2018; subsequent recurring reporting years will be from January 1 to December 31 at three-year intervals beginning in 2021;
  • All information reported for an applicable reporting year must be submitted on or before the first day of July following the reporting year.  The 2020 submission deadline is July 1, 2019; subsequent recurring submission deadlines are from July 1, in three-year intervals, beginning in 2022.

EPA’s proposed interpretations of activities to be considered as part of the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States are as follows:

  • Import of mercury or a mercury added product with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage for the importer, except where such mercury is generated as a byproduct not used for commercial purposes or an impurity.
  • Manufacture (other than import) of mercury or a mercury-added product with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage for the manufacturer, except where such mercury is generated as a byproduct not used for commercial purposes or an impurity. In this context, EPA considers manufacture to be the intentional production of mercury, a mercury compound, or a mercury-added product.
  • Otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process, other than the manufacture of a mercury compound or a mercury-added product, with the purpose of obtaining an immediate or eventual commercial advantage for the user, except where such mercury is generated as a byproduct not used for commercial purposes.
  • Distribution in commerce, including domestic sale or transfer, of mercury or a mercury-added product.
  • Storage of mercury after manufacture (including import).
  • Export of mercury or a mercury-added product, including the determining and controlling the sending of mercury (unless specifically prohibited) or a mercury-added product to a destination out of the customs territory of the United States.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by December 26, 2017.


 
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