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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold webinars on February 2, 2021, and February 18, 2021, to consult with environmental justice communities on risk management for the cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD) and carbon tetrachloride.  The webinars will focus on the environmental justice impacts of EPA’s development of proposed rules to address the unreasonable risks identified in the final TSCA risk evaluations for these chemicals.  EPA states that both sessions will address HBCD and carbon tetrachloride.  EPA is offering repeated sessions to increase opportunities for participation.  According to EPA, 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 HBCD and carbon tetrachloride, and discussion of environmental justice concerns.  EPA notes that in addition to being open to the public, it is inviting national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate.
 
EPA states that in addition to environmental justice consultations, it is executing a “robust outreach effort” on risk management that includes formal consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes.  There will also be an open public comment period on the proposed risk management regulations.  More information on EPA’s final risk evaluations is available in our September 28, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Final Risk Evaluation for HBCD,” and in our November 4, 2020, memorandum, “Final Risk Evaluation for Carbon Tetrachloride Finds Unreasonable Risks to Workers and Occupational Non-Users.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 30, 2020, that it is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profits to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide advice and recommendations to two Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panels.  One Panel will focus on EPA’s development of a proposed rule to address unreasonable risks identified in EPA’s recently completed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride.  As reported in our November 4, 2020, memorandum, EPA reviewed 15 conditions of use, “all of which are associated with industrial and commercial work and primarily involve the manufacturing of other chemicals.”  EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (ONU) for 13 of the 15 conditions of use.  EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment.  According to EPA, there are no consumer uses of this chemical.  The second Panel will focus on a risk management rulemaking for trichloroethylene (TCE).  As reported in our November 24, 2020, memorandum, of the 54 conditions of use that EPA reviewed, EPA found that 52 present an unreasonable risk to workers, ONUs, consumers, and bystanders.  EPA determined that distribution in commerce and consumer use of TCE in pepper spray do not present an unreasonable risk.  EPA also found no unreasonable risks to the environment.  EPA is now moving to the risk management step in the TSCA process by working to draft regulations to protect public health from the unreasonable risks identified in the final risk evaluations. 

According to EPA, the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish an SBAR Panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.  The SBAR Panels will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA.  The SBAR Panels will select SERs to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise the Panels on the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities.  EPA states that it is seeking self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rules’ requirements.  EPA notes that 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 online and must be received by December 14, 2020.

EPA states that in addition to engaging with small businesses, it “is executing a robust outreach effort on risk management that includes formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, and environmental justice communities.”  EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulations.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) will hold a webinar on December 10, 2020, to educate stakeholders on the risk management process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the findings in the final risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride.  The webinar will also provide an opportunity for the public to provide input on considerations EPA should take into account for managing these unreasonable risks.  Registration is open.  Stakeholders who would like to provide oral comments must register by December 8, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. (EST).  As reported in our November 4, 2020, memorandum, “Final Risk Evaluation for Carbon Tetrachloride Finds Unreasonable Risks to Workers and Occupational Non-Users,” EPA reviewed 15 conditions of use, “all of which are associated with industrial and commercial work and primarily involve the manufacturing of other chemicals.”  EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (ONU) for 13 of the 15 conditions of use.  EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment.  According to EPA, there are no consumer uses of this chemical.
 
On December 15, 2020, EPA will hold a webinar on the findings in the final risk evaluation for trichloroethylene (TCE)Registration is open, and stakeholders who would like to provide oral comments must register by December 11, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).  As reported in our November 24, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Evaluates 54 Conditions of Use for TCE, Finding That 52 Present an Unreasonable Risk,” of the 54 conditions of use that EPA reviewed, EPA found that 52 present an unreasonable risk to workers, ONUs, consumers, and bystanders.  EPA determined that distribution in commerce and consumer use of TCE in pepper spray do not present an unreasonable risk. EPA also found no unreasonable risks to the environment.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On January 24, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft risk evaluation of carbon tetrachloride, “a solvent primarily used in the manufacturing of chlorinated compounds and petrochemicals.”  Carbon tetrachloride is the seventh of the first ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluation under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA published a Federal Register notice on January 27, 2020, announcing the availability of the draft risk evaluation and beginning a 60-day comment period.  85 Fed. Reg. 4658.  The TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) will hold a preparatory virtual meeting on February 4, 2020, to consider the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions for the peer review.  On February 25-26, 2020, SACC will hold an in-person public meeting to consider and review the draft risk evaluation.  EPA will provide comments submitted on the draft risk evaluation on or before February 19, 2020, to SACC for their consideration before the meeting.  Comments received after February 19, 2020, and prior to the oral public comment period during the meeting will be available to the SACC for their consideration during the meeting.  Comments on the draft risk evaluation are due March 27, 2020.
 
EPA states that it “reviewed 15 potential uses, all of which are associated with industrial and commercial work and are primarily associated with the manufacturing process of other chemicals.”  According to EPA, there are no consumer uses of carbon tetrachloride.  EPA made the following initial determinations on risk:

  • EPA did not find risk to the environment or workers.  For all the conditions of use included in the draft risk evaluation, EPA states that it has preliminarily found no unreasonable risks to the environment under any of the conditions of use or to workers when appropriate personal protective equipment is used; and
     
  • EPA’s draft risk evaluation preliminarily found unreasonable risks associated with chronic inhalation exposure for occupational non-users (ONU).  EPA found that ONUs -- those workers in the vicinity of carbon tetrachloride’s use but not directly working with the chemical -- could be adversely affected by carbon tetrachloride under certain conditions of use.

More information, including an insightful commentary, is available in our January 27, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Releases Draft Risk Evaluation of Carbon Tetrachloride.”