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 September 8, 2021, the availability of the draft scope of the risk evaluation to be conducted for octamethylcyclotetra-siloxane (D4). 86 Fed. Reg. 50347. As reported in our October 7, 2020, blog item, through the American Chemistry Council’s Silicones Environmental, Health, and Safety Center, Dow Silicones Corporation, Elkem Silicones USA Corporation, Evonik Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials, Shin-Etsu Silicones of America, Inc., and Wacker Chemical Corporation requested a risk evaluation of D4 pursuant to Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The draft scope document includes the conditions of use, hazards, exposures, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations that EPA plans to consider in conducting the risk evaluation for this chemical substance. EPA is also opening a 45-calendar day comment period on the draft scope to allow for the public to provide additional data or information that could be useful in preparing the final scope document. Comments are due October 25, 2021.
 
EPA plans to evaluate manufacturing (including importing); processing; distribution in commerce; industrial, commercial, and consumer uses; and disposal of D4 in the risk evaluation. According to the draft scope document, D4 is manufactured (including imported) in the United States. The chemical is processed as a reactant; incorporated into a formulation, mixture, or reaction product; and incorporated into articles. The draft scope document states that the identified processing activities also include the repackaging and recycling of D4. D4 is primarily used to make other silicone chemicals and as an ingredient in consumer products regulated by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Commercial uses include adhesives and sealants, automotive care products, paints and coatings, and other plastic and rubber products. Additional consumer uses include adhesives and sealants, automotive care products, laundry and dishwashing products, paints and coatings, and other plastic and rubber products.
 
EPA notes that some of these conditions of use were identified in the manufacturer request as circumstances on which EPA was requested to conduct a risk evaluation. EPA identified other conditions of use from information reported to EPA through Chemical Data Reporting (CDR), published literature, and consultation with stakeholders for both uses currently in production and uses whose production may have ceased. EPA presented the proposed additions of these EPA-identified conditions of use and the basis for these proposed additions, along with the manufacturer request, for a 45-day comment period in June 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On August 31, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final scope documents for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations of diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP). 86 Fed. Reg. 48695; 86 Fed. Reg. 48693. In its August 31, 2021, press release, EPA notes that both DIDP and DINP “belong to a family of chemicals called phthalates and are commonly used as plasticizers in the production of plastic and plastic coating to increase flexibility.”
 
According to EPA, the final scope documents reflect the policy changes on risk evaluations announced in June 2021. This includes plans to consider exposure pathways that may be regulated outside of TSCA, like air and water, and potential for exposures to fenceline communities (i.e., communities near industrial facilities). EPA states that “[a]ssumptions that personal protective equipment (PPE) in occupational settings will always be properly utilized will not be used as the basis for the risk determination. Use of PPE, and other ways industry protects its workers, will be assessed during the risk evaluation and considered as potential ways to address unreasonable risks during the risk management process.” More information on the policy changes is available in our July 1, 2021, memorandum.
 
The final scope documents explain EPA’s plan for the risk evaluations, including the conditions of use, hazards, exposures, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations that EPA will consider. The documents also include a description of the reasonably available information and the best available science approaches that EPA will use; a conceptual model that outlines the potential hazards and exposures throughout the life cycle of the chemical; an analysis plan to identify the approaches and methods EPA will use to assess health and environmental risks; and a plan for peer review. More information will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On August 19, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a collaborative agreement with Unilever to explore better ways to assess chemical risks associated with consumer products. According to EPA, this agreement builds on prior cooperation between EPA and Unilever regarding New Approach Methods (NAM), “which are a promising alternative to conventional toxicity testing that are intended to reduce reliance on the use of animals.” EPA states that the collaboration aims to establish a framework for the Next Generation of Risk Assessments based on NAMs. The collaboration will bring together more than $2 million in both monetary and in-kind contributions, including scientific expertise and equipment, to develop a comprehensive NAMs dataset for a minimum of 40 chemicals. According to EPA, the chemicals will be selected and grouped such that half will be benign and the other half will have known adverse implications for human health. These chemicals will be tested using a wide variety of NAMs, and the results will be compared between the two groups to determine how well particular NAMs can infer differences in risk. EPA states that these data will be used in case studies to evaluate the potential to use NAMs in regulatory decisions. All data generated through the collaboration will be in the public domain, allowing academic, corporate, government, and nonprofit scientists to use the project results in their own research.
 
EPA states that in addition to the data generated through the collaboration, EPA and Unilever will use chemical data from EPA’s high-throughput screening efforts and the federal government’s Tox21 consortium, which is a collaboration among EPA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to EPA, “[t]hese automated chemical screening technologies rapidly test thousands of chemicals for their effects on human cells or cellular components that are critical to normal function.” EPA notes that data from these technologies are then incorporated into computational models to predict potential adverse health effects and estimate the amount of chemical that may cause these effects.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on July 27, 2021, that it will provide $3.8 million in funding to create two EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Centers for Early Lifestage Vulnerabilities to Environmental Stressors. The centers will focus on early lifestage exposures to chemicals and non-chemical environmental stressors and how these exposures may impact early childhood developmental health. EPA states that scientific research suggests that exposures to pollutants and non-chemical stressors during early lifestages may be crucial determinants of lifetime health. Exposures to cumulative mixtures of chemicals, along with other stressors, such as poverty, limited access to services, and changing environmental conditions, may pose developmental and lifelong health risks. According to EPA, accurate and comprehensive assessments of cumulative impacts are needed to make sound decisions regarding risk reduction, mitigation, and prevention measures. Each center will focus on two individual research projects:

  • Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina:
    • Evaluating the Causal Impacts of Early Life Chemical Exposures on Neurodevelopmental Functioning in Early Childhood -- Researchers will identify the occurrences and types of chemicals found in toddlers’ caregiving environments and evaluate how these cumulative chemical exposures are associated with neurodevelopmental functioning in early childhood; and
    • Investigating Whether the Caregiving Environment Moderates the Impact of Early Life Chemical Exposures on Neurodevelopmental Functioning in Early Childhood -- Researchers will investigate whether home caregiving environments alter the impacts of early life chemical exposures on neurodevelopmental outcomes in early childhood.
  • University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina:
    • Early Life Exposure and Neurobehavioral Development -- Researchers will leverage an ongoing, longitudinal study of normative brain development, the UNC Baby Connectome Study, to examine the role that early life exposure to phthalates and other chemicals plays in early childhood behavior, memory, language and motor development, and social cognition; and
    • Neural Substrates of Prenatal and Early Life Neurotoxicity Using Non-Invasive Imaging Methods -- Researchers will work to improve the understanding of the relationships between prenatal and early life exposures and structural and functional brain development, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy, an important time for brain development.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
According to a memorandum posted in Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0436, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not extend the comment period stemming from the July 27, 2021, public webinar on the development of a proposed rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to implement a tiered data collection strategy intended to inform EPA’s prioritization, risk evaluation, and risk management activities for chemical substances or mixtures. As reported in our July 29, 2021, memorandum, EPA is exploring a data reporting rule that is tiered to specific stages of the TSCA existing chemicals program: identifying a pool of substances as potential candidates for prioritization; selecting candidate chemicals for and completing the prioritization process; and assessing high-priority substances through a robust risk evaluation that may be followed by risk management actions (depending on the outcome of the risk evaluation). According to the memorandum posted in the docket, the August 16, 2021, deadline is for EPA’s use in the current stage of its rulemaking development. While EPA will consider later comments as it continues to develop the proposed rule, EPA states that “comments submitted at this point will be especially useful to EPA and stand a greater chance of influencing the rulemaking.” Because there will be other opportunities to comment on the tiered data reporting rule, including during the public comment period following publication of the proposed rule, EPA “do[es] not believe that an extension of the comment period is necessary.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On July 27, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) will hold a public meeting to engage with interested stakeholders on the development of a proposed rule for implementing a tiered data collection strategy to help inform EPA’s prioritization, risk evaluation, and risk management activities for chemical substances or mixtures under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to EPA, it currently primarily collects exposure-related data through the TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) process. EPA is interested in ensuring that data collection strategies provide information to meet better its basic chemical data needs, such as information related to exposure, health, and ecotoxicity. To this end, EPA states that it is exploring a data reporting rule that is tiered to specific stages of the TSCA existing chemicals program: identifying a pool of substances as potential candidates for prioritization; selecting candidate chemicals for and completing the prioritization process; and assessing high-priority substances through a robust risk evaluation, which may be followed by risk management actions (depending on the outcome of the risk evaluation). According to EPA, feedback from the public meeting and comments received will help inform its development of a proposed rule. The meeting will be held virtually via WebEx on July 27, 2021, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (EDT). Those who would like to make a comment during the meeting must register by 6:00 p.m. EDT on July 22, 2021. Those who would like to participate in listen-only mode must register by 6:00 p.m. EDT on July 26, 2021. Written comments are due August 15, 2021.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 27, 2021, that it has invited environmental justice communities and stakeholders to participate in environmental justice consultations regarding the development of a proposed risk management action under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address unreasonable risks presented by N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP). EPA will hold two identical consultation webinars, one on July 7, 2021, and the other on July 13, 2021. Both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluation, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from NMP, and an opportunity for EPA to obtain input on environmental justice concerns. The consultations are open to the public, and EPA is inviting national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate. Comments are due August 27, 2021.
 
EPA states that in addition to these environmental justice consultations, it is executing a “robust” outreach effort that includes consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes. There will also be an open public comment period on proposed risk management regulations. EPA notes that while outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for NMP move forward, it is “actively reviewing” the final risk evaluation to ensure it uses the best available science and protects human health and the environment, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration. EPA will keep stakeholders updated as it makes decisions and determines next steps.
 
More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation of NMP is available in our December 29, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Releases Final Chemical Risk Evaluation for NMP.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On May 21, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its response to a portion of the petition it received February 8, 2021, from People for Protecting Peace River, Center for Biological Diversity, and 16 other organizations. 86 Fed. Reg. 27546. While the petition requested three actions related to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA states that it has determined that only one of those actions is an appropriate request: a request to issue a test rule under TSCA requiring testing of phosphogypsum and process wastewater from phosphoric acid production. According to the notice, EPA is treating the other portions of the petition involving TSCA as a petition under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); those other portions request EPA to initiate the prioritization process for designating phosphogypsum and process wastewater as high-priority substances for risk evaluation and to make a determination by rule under TSCA that the use of phosphogypsum in road construction is a significant new use. Therefore, the notice does not provide EPA’s response to these two TSCA-requested actions. Also, it does not address the petitioners’ requests under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA states that “[a]fter careful consideration,” it has denied the TSCA Section 21 portion of the petition for the following reasons:

  • Request for prioritization under TSCA Section 6 and related testing under TSCA Section 4(a)(2)(B): Because TSCA Section 21 does not provide an avenue for petitioners to request the initiation of the prioritization process for phosphogypsum and process wastewater, EPA is treating this portion of the request as a petition for action under the APA. Petitioners assert that “should EPA initiate prioritization but find that the development of new information is necessary to finalize a prioritization decision for phosphogypsum and process wastewater, EPA should exercise its authority under section 4(a)(2)(B) to obtain that information and establish priority.” EPA states that because it is not addressing the request for prioritization and has not otherwise initiated prioritization on phosphogypsum or process wastewater, it is not in a position to exercise its authority under TSCA Section 4(a)(2)(B) in the manner and for the reason described by petitioners.
  • Request for significant new use rule (SNUR) under TSCA Section 5: TSCA Section 21 does not provide for the submission of a petition seeking the initiation of a rule under TSCA Section 5. EPA states that SNURs are issued under the authority of TSCA Section 5(a)(2). Since TSCA Section 21 does not provide an avenue for petitioners to request the initiation of a proceeding to make a determination by rule under TSCA Section 5(a), EPA is treating this portion of the request as a petition for action under the APA.
  • Request for issuance of a test rule under TSCA Section 4(a)(1)(A): According to the notice, TSCA Section 21 does provide for the submission of a petition seeking issuance of a test rule under TSCA Section 4(a)(1)(A). EPA states that it finds that the petitioners have not met their burden as defined in TSCA Sections 4(a)(1)(A) and 21(b)(1) because the petitioners have not provided the facts necessary to determine for phosphogypsum and process wastewater that existing information and experience are insufficient and testing with respect to such effects is necessary to develop such information.

More information about the petition is available in our March 12, 2021, memorandum, “EPA Receives Petition Seeking RCRA and TSCA Regulatory Action for Phosphogypsum and Process Wastewater.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On May 18, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited environmental justice communities and stakeholders to participate in environmental justice consultations regarding the development of proposed risk management actions under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address unreasonable risks presented by trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). EPA will hold two identical consultation webinars, one on June 16, 2021, and the other on July 6, 2021. EPA states that both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from TCE and PCE, and an opportunity for EPA to obtain input on environmental justice concerns. The consultations are open to the public, and EPA invites national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate. Comments are due August 20, 2021.
 
In addition to these environmental justice consultations, EPA states that it is executing a “robust outreach effort” that includes consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes. There will also be an open public comment period on proposed risk management regulations.
 
While outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for TCE and PCE will continue to move forward, EPA is actively reviewing final risk evaluations to ensure they use the best available science and protect human health and the environment, in accordance with Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration. EPA states that it will keep stakeholders updated as it makes decisions and determines next steps. More information on EPA’s final risk evaluations for TCE is available in our November 24, 2020, memorandum and on EPA’s final risk evaluation for PCE in our December 17, 2020, memorandum.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 7, 2021, that it is partnering with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Science Consortium International, Unilever, and Syngenta on a three-part virtual workshop series on “Using In Silico and In Vitro Approaches for Next Generation Risk Assessment of Potential Respiratory Toxicants.”  EPA states that this webinar series supports its commitment “to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing, as outlined in the Strategic Plan to Promote the Development and Implementation of Alternative Test Methods within the [Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)] Program.”  The webinars will take place on May 19, May 26, and June 2, 2021, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (EDT).  Each webinar will feature three speakers.  The meeting agenda and registration information are available at www.thepsci.eu/inhalation-webinars.  Attendees must register for each of the three webinars individually.


 
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