By Charles M. Auer, Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D., and Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 22, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Strategic Plan to Promote the Development and Implementation of Alternative Test Methods Within the TSCA Program. Development of the Strategic Plan was required under Section 4(h)(2)(A) of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act with a deadline of not later than two years after enactment. Release of the final Strategic Plan occurred on the second anniversary of enactment of amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The goal of the strategy is to reduce the level of testing in vertebrates for chemicals regulated under TSCA. EPA describes alternative test methods and strategies as different descriptors that have a common goal. The former is based on reduction, refinement, and replacement of animal test methods (the 3Rs), while strategies incorporate more than just toxicity test methods to characterize hazard. The strategy as proposed relies on a range of applications and testing approaches to characterize human health and environmental endpoints.
Collectively, alternative test methods and strategies combine to define a new term: new approach methodologies (NAM). The NAM designation is used as a broadly descriptive reference to any technology, methodology, approach, or combination thereof that can be used to provide information on chemical hazard and risk assessment that avoids the use of vertebrates. For the purposes of TSCA, EPA recognizes this new term (i.e., NAM) as encompassing any “alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine or replace vertebrate animals.”
A much more detailed summary and analysis of this important issue 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, Charles M. Auer, and Carla N. Hutton
On June 20, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidance intended “to improve transparency with the public and with companies seeking Agency review of their new chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).” EPA states that the guidance, entitled Points to Consider When Preparing TSCA New Chemical Notifications, “promotes early engagement and communication, and enhances overall understanding of EPA’s technical review and analysis to better move chemicals through the evaluation process.” EPA incorporated comments from a December 2017 public meeting and feedback received on a November 2017 draft of the document into its guidance. EPA also issued a “Response to Comments Received on Points to Consider Posted for Comment November 2017.” EPA states that it expects that use of the guidance will result in “more robust submissions.” EPA encourages companies to contact its new chemicals program to set up a pre-submission (or “pre-notice”) meeting before submitting their premanufacture notices (PMN). According to EPA, the pre-submission meeting is an opportunity to discuss the planned new chemical submission and to understand EPA’s approach to reviewing new chemicals for potential risks early in the process.
More information will be available in our detailed analysis to be issued in a memorandum later today and posted to our Recent Regulatory Developments web page.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On May 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would host a half-day preparatory meeting for experts selected to serve as letter peer reviewers for EPA’s Exposure and Use Assessment and Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary for Five Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals. Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) directs EPA to issue regulations under Section 6(a) for certain PBT chemical substances that were identified in EPA’s TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments: 2014 update. The selected chemicals are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DECA);
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD);
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP);
- Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1) (PIP3/ITPP); and
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl) phenol (2, 4, 6 TRIS).
EPA prepared an Exposure and Use Assessment and a Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary in response to the requirements under TSCA Section 6(h) to summarize conclusions of toxicity and whether there is likely exposure to these PBT chemicals and EPA organized letter peer reviews for the Exposure and Use Assessment and the Human Health and Environmental Hazard Summary. The Federal Register notice announcing the meeting states that during the preparatory meeting, “the individual letter peer reviewers will have the opportunity to comment on and ask questions regarding the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions.” EPA’s background papers, related supporting materials, and charge/questions for these letter peer reviews are now available in Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0314 on www.regulations.gov.
The meeting is scheduled for June 25, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) and will be held via teleconference and webcast only. Registration is available online. Those requesting to provide oral comments (approximately five minutes) are asked to register by June 21, 2018. Though the peer reviewers may not be able to consider fully written comments submitted after July 23, 2018, EPA will consider all comments submitted on or before August 17, 2018.
More information, including the list of experts, is available on EPA’s TSCA Peer Review website.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, and Jessie Nguyen
On May 9, 2018, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) posted the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan. OIRA states that the semi-annual Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan “provide uniform reporting of data on regulatory and deregulatory actions under development throughout the Federal government, covering over 60 departments, agencies, and commissions.” Below are highlights of rulemakings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) that are related to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
- Microorganisms: General Exemptions From Reporting Requirements; Revisions of Recipient Organisms Eligible for Tier I and Tier II Exemptions (RIN 2070-AJ65): EPA promulgated a final rule under TSCA Section 5 to establish notification procedures for review of certain new microorganisms before they are introduced into commerce. EPA received petitions to add Trichoderma reesei and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to the list of microorganisms that may be used as recipient microorganisms to qualify for the exemption from full notification and reporting. Based on EPA’s evaluation of these petitions, EPA states that it made a preliminary determination that certain strains of both microorganisms will not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment when used as a recipient microorganism, provided that certain criteria for the introduced genetic material and the physical containment conditions are met, and issued a proposed rule. EPA is developing a revised proposal that will address concerns raised by commenters, and is considering expanding the earlier proposal to prohibit the inclusion of antibiotic resistance genes in the introduced genetic material in microorganisms qualifying for the TSCA Section 5(h)(4) exemption. EPA intended to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in May 2018;
- Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate (PFAS) Chemical Substances; Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) (RIN 2070-AJ99): EPA is developing a SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for LCPFAC chemical substances, and for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or its salts. On January 21, 2015, EPA proposed to amend a SNUR for LCPFAC chemical substances by designating as a significant new use manufacturing (including importing) or processing of an identified subset of LCPFAC chemical substances for any use that will not be ongoing after December 31, 2015, and all other LCPFAC chemical substances for which there are currently no ongoing uses. EPA also proposed to make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import LCPFAC chemical substances as part of articles. In addition, EPA proposed to amend a SNUR for PFAS chemical substances that would make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import PFAS chemical substances as part of carpets. EPA intended to issue a supplemental NPRM in May 2018 following changes to TSCA brought about by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. EPA plans to issue a final rule in July 2019;
- Procedural Rule: Review of Confidential Business Information (CBI) Claims for the Identity of Chemicals on the TSCA Inventory -- Amended TSCA Section 8(b)(4)(C) (RIN 2070-AK21): EPA is developing a proposed rule to implement TSCA Section 8(b)(4)(C), which requires EPA to establish a plan to review all claims to protect the specific chemical identities of chemical substances on the confidential portion of the active TSCA Inventory. EPA intends to publish an NPRM in January 2019 and a final rule in December 2019;
- TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Revisions (RIN 2070-AK33): EPA will revise the reporting requirements to align better with new TSCA requirements. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in September 2018 and a final rule in September 2019;
- Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices (RIN 2070-AJ94): On July 28, 2016, EPA issued a rule proposing changes to the applicable Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations to align EPA’s regulations, where possible, with the final revisions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communications Standards. EPA intends to issue a final rule in September 2018;
- Certain Nonylphenols (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE); SNUR (RIN 2070-AJ96): On October 1, 2014, EPA issued a proposed SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for certain NPs and NPEs. EPA intends to issue a final SNUR in December 2018;
- Mercury; Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory (RIN 2070-AK22): On October 26, 2017, EPA issued a rule proposing reporting requirements under TSCA Section 8(b)(10)(D) 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.” EPA intends to issue a final rule in June 2018; and
- Service Fees for the Administration of TSCA (RIN 2070-AK27): On February 26, 2018, EPA issued a rule proposing to implement TSCA Section 26(b)(1), which authorizes EPA to issue a rule to establish fees to defray the cost of administering Sections 4, 5, and 6, and collecting, processing, reviewing, and providing access to and protecting from disclosure as appropriate under Section 14 information on chemical substances. EPA intends to issue a final rule in August 2018.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On June 1, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the much anticipated first ten problem formulation documents; its systematic review approach document; and a significant new use rule (SNUR) proposal enabling it to prevent new uses of asbestos for public comment. Links and short summaries are provided below.
EPA states that the problem formulation documents refine the conditions of use, exposures, and hazards presented in the scope of the risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals to be evaluated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and present refined conceptual models and analysis plans that describe how EPA expects to evaluate the risks and that they are an important interim step prior to completing and publishing the final risk evaluations by December 2019. Comments on the problem formulation documents will be due 45 days after these documents are published in the Federal Register. The problem formulation documents are:
- 1-Bromopropane (1-BP);
- Carbon Tetrachloride;
- Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD Cluster);
- Methylene Chloride;
- N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP);
- Pigment Violet 29; and
- Trichloroethylene (TCE).
EPA states the systematic review approach document will guide its selection and review of studies in addition to providing the public with continued transparency regarding how the Agency plans to evaluate scientific information. Comments will be due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. Also included on the systematic review web page is EPA’s Response to Public Comments Related to the Supplemental Files Supporting the TSCA Scope Documents for the First Ten Risk Evaluations.
For asbestos, EPA is proposing an asbestos SNUR for certain uses of asbestos (including asbestos-containing goods) that would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing, and importing or processing of asbestos. EPA states that this review process, the first such action on asbestos ever proposed, would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use of asbestos and, when necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the use. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
More information on the first ten chemical evaluations is available on our blog. A more detailed analysis will be available next week on our regulatory developments webpage.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On April 26, 2018, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt was grilled by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment at a hearing titled The Fiscal Year 2019 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Budget. The budget was plainly not the primary topic as the House Committee Members covered a lot of ground. Pruitt fielded many questions and comments from House Democrats on his alleged ethical lapses regarding spending, security details, retaliation towards EPA employees who reportedly questioned his practices, and concerns about a hostile work environment. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressed concern over the installation of a secure phone booth in his office. His opening statement addressed these criticisms only vaguely, stating that they are merely a distraction and an attempt to “attack and derail the President’s agenda and these administration’s priorities.” There were also questions concerning the delay of the proposed rule banning the use of methylene chloride, and criticism regarding EPA’s recent proposed rule to strengthen transparency in regulatory science (the “secret” Science Rule).
No attempt is made here to summarize the lengthy hearing.
Pruitt’s testimony statement is available here. It does not contain information on the Science Rule, but it briefly references the implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in a section entitled “Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals in Commerce.”
More information on the many TSCA implementation initiatives is available on our TSCA Reform News & Information webpage, as well as the TSCAblogTM. A summary of Pruitt’s testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is available in our blog item “Pruitt Addresses Legacy Issues, TSCA Implementation in Oversight Hearing.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On April 24, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would be presenting a webinar to assist processors with reporting under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2017. This webinar, scheduled for May 23, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) will “include an overview of reporting requirements for processors, a demonstration of the electronic reporting application (Central Data Exchange, or CDX), and will provide time for questions and answers.” Registration for the webinar is not required. The webinar will be available through the following link on May 23: http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/tsca_inventory/. A link to access the TSCA Inventory is available here. The upcoming deadline for voluntary submission of a Notice of Activity Form A by processors is October 5, 2018.
More information on TSCA Inventory issues is available on our blog under key phrase TSCA Inventory and in our memorandum “EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) April 2018 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory is now available. For the first time, the Inventory includes a field designating substances that are “active” in U.S. commerce based on the following:
- Reporting from the 2012 and 2016 Chemical Data Reporting cycles;
- Notices of Commencement received by EPA since June 21, 2006; and
- Notice of Activity Form A’s received by EPA through the February 7, 2018, deadline, per the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule.
EPA states that it “carefully processed and conducted a quality check of the data to ensure duplicate entries and confidential business information were removed” from the large number of notices received under the Active-Inactive Rule. EPA also posted a list of substances reported in a Notice of Activity Form A from February 8 through March 30, 2018. According to EPA, this list should assist processors in determining which of their substances on the Inventory have not yet been designated as “active” to date. Based on our review, the Inventory lists approximately 38,303 total active substances, or about 44.5 percent. The deadline for voluntary submission of a Notice of Activity Form A by processors is October 5, 2018.
If your company is having trouble reporting through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX), please contact Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. or Lynn L. Bergeson to obtain a copy of our comprehensive Guidance Materials for TSCA Inventory Notification Rulemaking. Our TSCA experts would be pleased to assist you with the reporting process!
More information on the TSCA Inventory rulemaking and TSCA Inventory issues is available on our blog under the key phrase TSCA Inventory and on our TSCA Reform News & Information web page. More information on EPA’s Final TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule is available in our memorandum, “EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.” Specific information on changes in the CDX system is available in our blog item, “EPA Updates eNOA Template in CDX System.”