By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On June 24, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a New Approach Methods (NAM) Work Plan that will “serve as a roadmap for meeting its animal testing reduction goals set forth in Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s 2019 Directive.” According to EPA’s June 24, 2020, press release, the Work Plan describes how EPA plans to develop, test, and apply chemical safety testing approaches that reduce or replace the use of animals. EPA states that compared to traditional animal testing, NAMs allow researchers better to predict potential hazards for risk assessment purposes without the use of traditional methods that rely on animal testing. The objectives of the Work Plan include:
- Evaluating regulatory flexibility for the use of NAMs;
- Establishing baselines and metrics for assessing progress;
- Developing NAMs that fill critical information gaps;
- Establishing scientific confidence in NAMs;
- Demonstrating NAMs application to regulatory decisions; and
- Engaging with stakeholders to incorporates their knowledge and address their concerns regarding EPA’s phaseout of mammalian testing.
EPA states that the Work Plan will evolve as EPA’s knowledge and experience grow and as outside experts offer their perspectives and contributions. EPA will regularly review the Work Plan to ensure that the efforts involved provide the best path to success. More information on the 2019 directive to prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing is available in our September 11, 2019, blog item, “EPA Administrator Signs Directive Intended to Reduce Animal Testing, Awards $4.25 Million for Research on Alternative Methods to Animal Testing.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 8, 2020, that it received a complete manufacturer request for EPA to conduct a risk evaluation of octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) from Dow Silicones Corporation, Elkem Silicones USA Corporation, Evonik Corporation, Momentive Performance Materials, Shin-Etsu Silicones of America, Inc., and Wacker Chemical Corporation through the American Chemistry Council’s Silicones Environmental, Health, and Safety Center. EPA states that D4 is used to make other silicone chemicals and as an ingredient in some personal care products. D4 was identified in the 2014 Update to the TSCA Work Plan.
EPA notes that within 15 business days of receiving a facially complete request (i.e., submission appears to be consistent with rule requirements), it must notify the public of receipt of this request under 40 C.F.R. Section 702.37(e)(2). Within 60 business days of receipt of a facially complete request, EPA will submit for publication the receipt of the request in the Federal Register, open a public docket for the request, and provide no less than 45 calendar days for public comment. According to EPA, the docket will contain the manufacturer request, EPA’s proposed additions of conditions of use, and the basis for those proposed additions. During the public comment period, the public may comment on the request, as well as the additional conditions of use EPA proposes for inclusion. After the comment period closes, EPA has up to 60 days to either grant or deny the request to conduct a risk evaluation under 40 C.F.R. Section 702.37(e)(6).
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On March 9, 2018, as a first step in developing a proposed rule regulating certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking nominations for individuals who represent small businesses, small governments, and small non-for-profit organizations to serve as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide input on potential impacts of PBT regulation. EPA states the role of a SER is “to provide advice and recommendations to ensure that the Panel carefully considers small entity concerns regarding the impact of the potential rule on their organizations and to communicate with other small entities within their sector who do not serve as SERs,” and will ask the SERs to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise a soon to be created Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel regarding potential impacts to small businesses that could result from the regulation of certain identified PBTs. The SBAR panel will include federal representatives from EPA, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). After collecting input from the small entities, the panel will make recommendations to the Agency on the development of a proposed rule to regulate these PBT chemicals.
Under Section 6(h) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is required, not later than three years after the date of enactment (June 22, 2019), to propose rules regarding the regulation of certain PBTs selected from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments that: (1) EPA has a reasonable basis to conclude are toxic and that with respect to persistence and bioaccumulation score high for one and either high or moderate for the other have been identified; and (2) exposure to which under the conditions of use is likely to the general population or to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation identified by the Administrator, or the environment, on the basis of an exposure and use assessment conducted by the Administrator. The PBT chemicals that EPA has selected are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DecaBDE), used as a flame retardant in textiles, plastics, wiring insulation, and building and construction materials;
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), used as a solvent in the manufacture of rubber compounds and as hydraulic, heat transfer or transformer fluid;
- Pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP), used as a mercaptan (sulfur) cross-linking agent to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses;
- Phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1), used as a flame retardant in consumer products and as lubricant, hydraulic fluid, and other industrial uses; and
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl) phenol, an antioxidant that can be used as a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish a SBAR panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. EPA states that the panel process will offer “an opportunity for small businesses, small governments and small not-for-profit organizations … to provide advice and recommendations to ensure that the EPA carefully considers small entity concerns regarding the impact of the potential rule on their organizations.”
EPA states eligible SERs are small entities that manufacture, process, distribute in commerce, use, or dispose any of the five selected PBT chemicals. EPA is seeking self-nominations directly from entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted through the instructions outlined on EPA’s Potential SBAR Panel website and must be received by March 22, 2018. More information about the SBAR process is available online.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Charles M. Auer
On November 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the initial ten chemical substances on which risk evaluations will be conducted under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 6(b)(2)(A). The chemicals, all of which were to be drawn from the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, are:
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EPA is required under TSCA Section 6(b)(2)(A) to announce the chemicals within 180 days of enactment, or by December 19, 2016.
Interestingly, several of the chemicals are the subject of Section 6 rules that are currently undergoing review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These include TCE, methylene chloride, and NMP. Assuming that EPA continues with these rules (relying on the savings provision at TSCA Section 26(p)(3) to use the completed risk evaluations on these chemicals in taking the Section 6 actions), the inclusion of the chemicals on the list may suggest that EPA will broaden the risk evaluations to include other conditions of use beyond those in the completed risk assessments.
For more on the chemicals listed and additional information: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca.