By Charles M. Auer and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its eNOA upload template that was initially released in 2017 to assist filers with the Central Data Exchange (CDX) system. The eNOA, or electronic Notice of Activity (NOA) Form, is used for retrospective reporting under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act’s (TSCA) Inventory notification requirements. The eNOA template, available for download from within the eNOA system on CDX, assists users to upload many substance identities in a batch. The template file is a comma separated value (CSV) file, CSV-NAA.csv, that is readable by most spreadsheet and database programs. The change means that if submitters attempt to use the old template, the CSV file will not upload properly and will generate errors in CDX.
The template was updated by adding a new field name. The new field name that will be added to the CSV file is “Isjoint,” and the field explanation is “NOA is joint with another submitter;” which permits filers to upload and start multiple joint submissions in a batch. The field names required, along with their field explanations, are:
- Isjoint: NOA is joint with another submitter.
- CASRN: CASRN with our without dashes; after upload, dashes will be present. Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE”;
- Accession Number: Accession number for substances listed on the confidential portion of the Inventory;
- Chemical Cbi: Submitter seeking to maintain CBI claim for substance identity. Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE”;
- Submitter Cbi: Submitter claiming CBI for submitter identity. Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE”;
- Company Details Cbi: Submitter claiming CBI for submitting company details. Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE”;
- Technical [Contact] Cbi: Submitter claiming CBI for technical contact identity. NB: “Contanct” is misspelled in the template. Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE”;
- Substantiation CBI: Submitter claiming CBI for substantiation statement(s). Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE”; and
- ShowCbiQuestions: Set to TRUE to substantiate CBI claims. This is required for submitter, company, and technical contact claims. Must be “TRUE” or “FALSE.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposed rule establishing fees on certain submissions under amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Sections 4, 5, and 6. EPA has indicated that it expects to propose the rule in the early part of the New Year: EPA’s regulatory agenda lists February 2018 for the proposed rule and September 2018 for the final rule.
More information on the TSCA fees rulemaking and requirements is available in our blog item “EPA Hosts August 11, 2016, Public Meeting on Proposed Rule for Revised TSCA Fees,” in our memorandum “TSCA Reform: An Analysis of Key Provisions and Fundamental Shifts in the Amended TSCA,” and in our September 20, 2016, webinar “‘The New TSCA’ Webinar 4: Administration of the Act, Preemption, Fees, and Green Chemistry.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and Margaret R. Graham
On December 21, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had wrongly dismissed a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 21 petition submitted by Food & Water Watch, Inc. and other citizens seeking the regulation of fluoridation of drinking water supplies under TSCA Section 6(a) on grounds that the ingestion of fluoride poses an unreasonable risk to humans. Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. EPA, Case No. 17-cv-02162-EMC (N.D. Cal.) (Food & Water Watch). In 2017, EPA denied the Section 21 petition on the grounds that it failed to address conditions of use other than the fluoridation of drinking water. 82 Fed. Reg. 11878 (Feb. 27, 2017).
In a fairly scathing rebuke of EPA’s legal positions, the court denied EPA’s motion to dismiss the petitioner’s judicial challenge of EPA’s administrative denial of the Section 21 petition and, in so doing, essentially rejected EPA’s interpretation that a citizen petition must evaluate all conditions of use of a chemical substance in a TSCA Section 6(b) risk evaluation. While we are hesitant to note that “we told you so” in our March 7, 2017, blog item, the analysis noted there was spot on.
At issue in Food & Water Watch is EPA’s legal position that TSCA Section 6 requires that EPA consider all conditions of use in proceedings under that provision. The court rejected this view noting that the “argument has no basis in the statutory text,” and there “is no good reason to believe that the term’s [conditions of use] appearance … [in Section 21] … obligates all citizen petitioners to address all conditions of use.” The court also noted that EPA’s interpretation creates “a disparity between citizen petitions and manufacturer requests” for a Section 6(b) risk evaluation. Under the rules, a manufacturer’s request may be limited only to those particular conditions of use of interest to the manufacturer, citing 40 C.F.R. Section 702.37(b)(4). The court also noted EPA’s change of view on this issue between the proposed and final risk evaluation rule. EPA initially proposed that risk evaluations must consider all conditions of use, but concluded in the final rule that EPA may focus its review on fewer than all conditions of use.
The court’s analysis is clear and well written, and goes into some detail on EPA’s legal reasoning and the problems it identified with it.
This ruling raises interesting issues when viewed in the broader context of pending judicial challenges to EPA’s TSCA framework rules. In those challenges, citizen advocates challenge EPA’s view, as articulated in the final framework rules, that the Agency retains discretion to assess those conditions of use it believes are most relevant for a particular chemical evaluation. In other words, they challenge EPA’s view that fewer than all conditions of use must be considered in a risk evaluation, the very position the court in Food & Water Watch rejected for purposes of Section 21 petitions challenging EPA’s interpretation of a citizen’s legal burden under TSCA Section 6(a). Given that the judicial challenge to the risk evaluation final rule is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, this district court decision is particularly relevant.
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 Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Lynn L. Bergeson, Kathleen M. Roberts, and Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On December 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) convened a much anticipated public meeting on implementing changes to the new chemicals review program under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA offered brief prepared remarks and previously solicited questions from stakeholders. Stakeholders expressed their appreciation to EPA for developing the draft Points to Consider and related documents made available in advance of the meeting, and for OPPT’s continuing interest on new chemical issues. For more information, see our blog “EPA Posts Agenda and Other Meeting Materials for December 6, 2017, New Chemicals Review Program Implementation Meeting.” Below are some key takeaways regarding the meeting as related to EPA’s presentations and input from industry and non-governmental organizations (NGO).
Conditions of Use, SNURs, and PMNs: EPA stated that one of its main concerns is when EPA does not identify unreasonable risk for intended use, but nonetheless has concerns with reasonably foreseen conditions of use. EPA stated that it will assess whether those concerns can be addressed through significant new use rules (SNUR) that it would promulgate prior to making its Section 5 finding. EPA stated that, in identifying reasonably foreseeable uses, it will rely on knowledge, experience, and facts to support what is foreseen, not simply what is possible. Several commenters requested clarification and examples on the information that will support such identifications. This is plainly an area of intense interest and on which EPA pledged to clarify.
EPA confirmed that the SNUR would mirror the premanufacture notice (PMN) in a way that would clearly state what deviations would be permitted to ensure protections for portions of the PMN about which EPA had identified concerns. In response to a direct question, Jeff Morris, Ph.D., OPPT Director, confirmed that he personally is looking at each new chemical notification decision to ensure a consistent and coherent approach to chemical reviews. Dr. Morris assured stakeholders that his engagement would not slow down the PMN review process.
NGO groups, that were ably represented at the meeting, expressed disappointment that they were not a part of the pilot testing component of the new chemicals Points to Consider document. OPPT clarified that the purpose of the pilot was to have parties who are actually preparing PMNs pilot use of the document while preparing PMNs and that as a result, non-PMN submitters were not a part of the pilot. Following a request from several NGOs, EPA stated that it would of course make the original and redline versions of the Points to Consider document publicly available to ensure full transparency. Several NGOs also voiced concern with the delay of EPA getting PMN information posted online. Commenters noted the need for access to more content related to the new chemicals review, such as detailed PMN determinations, as the determinations that are publicly available at this point are boilerplate. Interestingly, concerns were expressed on issues not germane to the workshop, such as existing and accidental releases of chemicals (not related to TSCA).
Of the parties that weighed in on the issue, industry representatives who addressed the issue were supportive of using SNURs to cover reasonably foreseeable conditions of use that are not reflected in the submitted PMNs. Some NGOs were supportive of the use of SNURs to reduce consent orders, while others stated that SNURs are not an adequate substitute for consent orders and that Congress intended for Section 5(e) orders to come first and to trigger SNURs. The concern over the use of SNURs rather than consent orders may relate to a concern of chemicals being introduced prior to the SNUR being published in final. Industry representatives also suggested that EPA seek to scale its information needs appropriately. For instance, less detailed exposure information should be required for EPA to determine that it has sufficient information on a low hazard chemical. Similarly, EPA should adjust the hazard profile requirements for a chemical with low exposure.
Chemical Categories: EPA reviewed the ongoing effort to develop four new chemical categories that could be used in future new chemical reviews. These are:
- Lung Effects Categories: Polycationic substances (cationic binding); general surfactants; waterproofing agents; and insoluble polymer lung overload;
- Photo-Acid Generators (PAG) Category;
- Tracer Chemical; and
- Perfluorinated Chemicals.
EPA asked for input and ideas on how to move forward with chemical categories -- either by updating existing categories or reviewing internal data to identify new categories -- and how the information should be presented (e.g., to publish separately or together in one document).
OSHA Focus: On behalf of the TSCA New Chemicals Coalition (TSCA NCC), Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., provided comments that included feedback to EPA that it needs to develop a consultation process with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) per the Section 5(f) legislative language. Dr. Engler suggested that EPA’s assessments could be communicated to submitters and OSHA to inform both on the endpoints of concern and EPA’s assessments of safe exposure limits. In this way, employers are obligated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to assess hazards and exposures, provide information to workers, and ensure that exposures are controlled under OSHA’s authority, thereby satisfying EPA’s obligation to regulate “to the extent necessary” to protect such workers.
Sustainable Futures Program: EPA asked for input as to whether it should continue the Sustainable Futures Program. Some commenters supported the Sustainable Futures Program; no commenters spoke against it.
The presentations from the meeting are listed below and available online:
- New Chemical Review under Amended TSCA -- Jeff Morris, Ph.D., Director, OPPT
- Points to Consider (PtC) When Preparing TSCA New Chemical Notifications -- David A. Tobias, Ph.D., Risk Assessment Division, OPPT
- New Chemicals Decision Guidelines Manual Detailed Outline
- Chemical Categories -- Tala R. Henry, Ph.D., Director, Risk Assessment Division, OPPT
- Other Advance Questions -- Tanya Hodge Mottley, Acting Deputy Director of Programs, OPPT
EPA’s next public meeting on TSCA’s implementation of Existing Chemicals Prioritization is coming up on December 11, 2017. More information on this upcoming meeting is available on our blog under key phrase public meeting.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On November 30, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register a notice of its final determination on whether revision to the current size standards for small manufacturers and processors, which are used in connection with reporting regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a), is warranted.
The notice states that EPA has made its final determination that revision is warranted based upon three factors, listed below.
- Its preliminary determination. EPA states in the notice that it preliminarily determined that a revision to the size standards is warranted “because of the magnitude of the increase in the [Producer Price Index (PPI)] since the last revision of the size standards and because the current annual sales standard is comparatively low given current revenue-based size standards developed by [the Small Business Administration (SBA)].” When EPA reviewed the change in the PPI for Chemicals and Allied Products between 1988 and 2015 it found that the PPI has changed by 129 percent, which far exceeds the 20 percent inflation index specified as a level above which EPA may adjust annual sales levels in the current standard if deemed necessary.
- A review of the comments on the preliminary determination. EPA states that most commenters agreed with its preliminary determination that an update is warranted and several also provided their opinions on how the standards should be revised. EPA states the actual changes to the standards were out of the scope of this determination, but it will address those issues in the subsequent proposed rulemaking.
- Feedback from consultation with the SBA. SBA’s Office of Advocacy substantively agreed with EPA’s preliminary determination (that a revision to the current size standards is warranted), but it had requested EPA to consider additional factors in reaching that conclusion which EPA did not. Specifically, the SBA wanted EPA to consider whether the standard is structured appropriately, and wanted EPA evaluate a broader set of factors related to firm and industry characteristics and percentage of firms impacted by Section 8 rules.
More information on these standards is available on our blog item under key phrase size standards.
By Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. and Margaret R. Graham
On November 22, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was releasing a preliminary list of chemical substances reported under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) rule that includes substances reported to EPA through November 10, 2017, and that it will be updated approximately once per month. EPA states that it is making this list available to help keep the stakeholder community informed of the status of reporting under the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) rule. EPA is providing the list in a downloadable, searchable spreadsheet. The total number of chemicals on the list is 10,730.
This total adds substantially to the 13,209 substances that appear on EPA’s list of substances exempt from Form A reporting. It is important to note that the new list is not an update to the list of interim active substances or to the list of substances exempt from Form A reporting; it is only a list of substances reported via Form A notices of activity through the specified date. The new list of substances reported by Form As will be useful to processors, allowing them to ensure that key substances are reported as active, but it does not relieve manufacturers or importers from the Form A reporting obligations of the rule.
More information on the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) rule is available on our blog item under key phrase TSCA 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.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On September 20, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register stating that it is extending the compliance date by which submitters of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) submissions containing information claimed as Confidential Business Information (CBI) and filed between June 22, 2016, and March 21, 2017, had to submit to EPA the substantiation required by TSCA Section 14(c)(3) for all information claimed as confidential, other than information exempt from substantiation pursuant to TSCA Section 14(c)(2). 82 Fed. Reg. 43964. The new deadline for substantiation of these claims is October 19, 2017. EPA states that this extension is in response to “concerns raised by industry stakeholders regarding the ability for companies to meet the previous September 19, 2017, deadline due to recent severe weather events,” and that it is “providing this additional flexibility for stakeholders because of the impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.” Further, “because EPA published its interpretation that TSCA section 14(c)(3) requires up front substantiation after some companies had already asserted confidentiality claims subject to TSCA section 14(c)(3), the Agency set a future deadline for submission of substantiations pertaining to those submissions.”
More information on the CBI substantiation process is available in our memorandum The September 19th CBI Substantiation Deadline Fast Approaching.
Also on September 20, 2017, EPA announced it was scheduling three webinars to assist the regulated community with reporting under the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) rule. The webinars, scheduled for September 27, 2017, October 25, 2017, and November 29, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (ET), will be identical and will include an overview of reporting requirements, a demo of the electronic reporting application (Central Data Exchange (CDX)), and will provide time for questions and answers. Registration for the webinars is not required. EPA’s TSCA Inventory webpage contains the information on how to access the webinar.
More information on the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) rule is available in our memorandum EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On September 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register extending the period for public comments on the candidates for consideration for the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals from September 5, 2017, to September 17, 2017. Comments can be submitted online in Docket Identification Number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0713.
EPA is considering candidates for SACC membership listed in the August 26, 2016, Federal Register notice pool of requested nominees; the 29 candidates for membership identified in the December 9, 2016, Federal Register notice; and the additional candidates provided in the August 3, 2017, Federal Register notice. More information on the background, qualification of members, and the process of obtaining nominees is available in our memorandum EPA Seeks Comment on Nominations to “Augmented” Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals.