By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.
On May 9, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would soon be making available a signed action signed on May 6, 2019, that identifies chemical substances for inactive designation according to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements rule. The pre-publication version of the notice is available here. Specifically, EPA states that the signed action is a companion to the first version of the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory with all listings designated as active or identified as inactive, which was posted on the EPA TSCA Inventory web page on February 19, 2019, and it will initiate a 90-day period after which substances identified as inactive will be designated as inactive. Because the action was signed on May 6, 2019, inactive designations will become effective on Monday, August 5, 2019.
Starting on August 5, 2019, manufacturers and processors are required to notify EPA before reintroducing into commerce a substance designated as inactive on the TSCA Inventory. Manufacturers and processors can notify EPA via a Notice of Activity Form B, found in EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX). Upon receiving such notification, EPA will change the designation of substances from inactive to active.
For more information, visit EPA’s TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule site.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.
On April 26, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued its order on petition for review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements (82 Fed. Reg. 37520 (Aug. 11, 2017)), which denied the petition for review on all but one claim. Petitioner Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) challenged five distinct features of the Inventory final rule: (i) EPA’s exclusion of substantiation questions regarding reverse engineering; (ii) the final rule’s criteria for “maintaining” a confidentiality claim; (iii) EPA’s choice not to incorporate certain regulatory requirements into the final rule; (iv) EPA’s failure to implement the Act’s “unique identifier” requirements in this rulemaking; and (v) the final rule’s exemption of exported chemicals from its notification requirements.
The D.C. Circuit’s order states that only the first claim succeeds past the standard of review required under both the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and TSCA, however; specifically, EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously via its “omission of any inquiry into a chemical identity’s susceptibility to reverse engineering [which] effectively excised a statutorily required criterion from the substantiation process.” Even though EPA included several substantiation questions to address reverse engineering in the proposed rule, EPA did not include any “substantiation questions related to the requirement that a substance’s chemical identity not be susceptible to reverse engineering” and declined altogether to “‘secure answers’ substantiating a company’s ‘assertion’ that its chemical product cannot be reverse engineered” in the final rule. The court states that this error was “fatal” and remands this issue back to EPA for EPA to “address its arbitrary elimination of substantiation questions regarding reverse engineering.”
Regarding the other four claims that it denied, the court made the following statements:
- “EPA acted well within its discretion in concluding that, as part of the Inventory update, any manufacturer or processor of a chemical substance can file a claim to maintain the chemical substance’s confidentiality”;
- “There is nothing facially troubling about the failure to copy every relevant statutory obligation into the regulation”;
- “Agencies need not address all regulatory obligations ‘in one fell swoop’ … nothing in [TSCA] requires the EPA to develop and implement the unique identifier system alongside its Inventory review process”; and
- “EPA’s decision [to exclude export-only chemicals from the final rule’s requirement that chemical companies notify EPA of chemical substances being manufactured or processed] reflected a reasonable interpretation of [TSCA].”
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5(a)(3)(C) determination for P-16-0510 represents a significant step in EPA’s implementation of the New Chemicals Program under new TSCA. The substance is a polymer (a copolymer of ethylene glycol and propylene glycol end-capped with acrylamide groups). It is intended to be used as a deodorizer in a variety of products, including floor cleaners, cat litter, fabric freshener sprays, and other consumer products.
Notably, EPA’s determination document specifies the conditions of use that are intended, known, and reasonably foreseen. EPA states that there are no known or reasonably foreseen conditions of use other than those intended by the submitter. This may appear to be a controversial statement. Based on EPA’s interpretation of “conditions of use,” it would not pass legal muster to speculate that “anybody could manufacture or use it for anything” and, hence, impose use restrictions to prevent purely speculative applications with no basis in fact or reality. EPA has repeatedly stated that it would base what is reasonably foreseen on information, knowledge, or experience, not on any conceivable condition of use.
EPA identifies the new chemical’s potential health hazard endpoints based on the acrylate/acrylamide category. The concerns are based on acrylamide itself and some low molecular acrylamide analogs and include mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, and a “marginal potential” for oncogenicity. This too may sound alarming. The real question, however, is how toxic is the new chemical and are exposures expected to exceed a “safe” level.
In this case, EPA specifically considers the low-molecular weight (LMW) components of the polymer (i.e., the “worst case”) in its assessment and identifies two analogs of the LMW components. Both analogs have similar structural features (they are end-capped with acrylates), so both are expected to share the same mode of action, and have similar molecular weights as the LMW components of the premanufacture notification (PMN) substance. EPA states that it also considered the toxicity of acrylamide in its assessment. We note, however, that acrylamide is not a good analog because it is substantially lower molecular weight than the LMW components of the PMN substance. Based on the identified analogs, EPA set a no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 250 mg/kg/day for systemic toxicity based on a combined repeat dose/reproductive/developmental toxicity screening test (OECD 422). This study tests for a chemical’s potential to cause toxicity and the primary endpoints of concern relevant to the category (developmental, reproductive, and neurotoxicity). This NOAEL would put the substance in the low-to-moderate toxicity category. Note that despite the nominally alarming set of health endpoints identified in EPA’s category assessment, the 422 study shows the analog is not especially toxic to mammals. By way of contrast, EPA’s most recent Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of acrylamide identified a NOAEL of 0.5 mg/kg-day.
EPA also identifies ecotoxicity concerns. Using its predictive models, EPA predicts toxicity levels for both acute and chronic effects to aquatic species and sets concentrations of concern (CoC) at 425 ppb for acute exposures and 43 ppb for chronic exposures. These levels put the substance in the “moderate” category for environmental hazard.
EPA then applies exposure modeling to predict exposures to workers, the general population, and consumers. EPA found that predicted exposures are sufficiently below EPA’s concern level to not present an unreasonable risk to workers, the general population, or consumers. EPA even found that at the “worst case” of 100 percent PMN substance, exposures would still be sufficiently below EPA’s concern level. EPA also evaluated surface water concentrations and found that the estimated maximum acute and chronic concentrations did not exceed the CoCs.
EPA reviewed the PMN, reviewed likely and potential exposures to workers, the general population, consumers, and aquatic species, and did not identify any foreseeable conditions of use that would lead EPA to predict that unreasonable risk was likely.
This is a marked and welcomed departure from previous TSCA Section 5(a)(3)(C) decisions. In nearly all cases in the past, EPA only made a not likely determination if it identified a low hazard for both health and ecological effects (“low/low” cases). Absent a low/low finding, EPA seemingly believed that there could be some conditions of use that could contribute exposures that could exceed EPA’s concern levels. Based on our review, EPA did not explain how it differentiated between “any possible/foreseeable” and “reasonably foreseeable” conditions of use. Instead, if EPA could imagine a set of circumstances that could elicit an exceedance, EPA was of the view that new TSCA precluded it from making a Section 5(a)(3)(C) finding. (While some stakeholders might applaud an approach based on concepts such as the European Union’s Precautionary Principle, this is not how new TSCA, or U.S. environmental legislation more generally, is structured.)
In the case of P-16-0510, EPA more carefully applied new TSCA as written when it identified a low/moderate health concern and a moderate eco concern, and nevertheless took a reasonable approach grounded on the law to go beyond mere consideration of potential hazard and to interpret the “reasonably foreseen” conditions of use and assess unreasonable risk as new TSCA requires. We support this more measured approach and believe it better meets the statutory intent and requirements. As we have written previously, in our view, a “not likely” finding is not limited to cases in which toxicity is so low that exceedances are unimaginable. Rather, EPA must limit its consideration to those conditions of use that are reasonably likely to occur and must evaluate unreasonable risks, not merely hazard, and regulate to protect to the “extent necessary” to protect against such unreasonable risks.
We applaud EPA’s more measured approach that likely indicates a maturation of its understanding of what is needed to meet a not likely determination. We urge EPA to articulate its thinking on what is and is not “reasonably foreseeable” and what PMN submitters can do to help EPA understand not only what is intended, but what might be reasonably foreseen to occur.
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 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 Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.
On February 7, 2018, manufacturers that manufactured (including imported) chemicals for nonexempt commercial purposes during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016, will be required to report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the retrospective reporting period that began on August 11, 2017, per the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active/Inactive) Requirements final rule that established a retrospective electronic notification of chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory.
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 key phrase TSCA Inventory and on our TSCA Reform News & Information webpage. Specific information on the upcoming reporting deadline and changes in the CDX system is available in our blog items EPA Offers Assistance to Manufacturers Reporting for the TSCA Inventory February 7, 2018, Deadline and EPA Updates eNOA Template in CDX System.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On January 18, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted additional documents on its website, specifically materials from two webinars, designed to assist manufacturers reporting for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements final rule that became effective on August 11, 2017. The rule, which established a retrospective electronic notification of chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory that were manufactured (including imported) for nonexempt commercial purposes during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016, requires manufacturers to report to EPA by February 7, 2018, for the retrospective reporting period that began on August 11, 2017 (180 days after the final rule was published in the Federal Register). The webinar slides and transcripts posted have three general sections: (1) an overview of the new reporting requirements; (2) a demonstration of the electronic reporting application in CDX; and (3) a question and answer session, where technical questions related to the reporting requirements and the electronic reporting application were addressed. These materials are:
An additional helpful development for manufacturers is the recent launch of the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) TSCA Inventory Reset CDX Receipt Database. The database allows manufacturers, importers, and processers under TSCA to upload and share Central Data Exchange (CDX) receipts. Further, it is being reported that EPA will also be providing and updating a list of frequently asked questions prior to the February 7 deadline.
Following this retrospective reporting for manufacturers, EPA will include the active designations, determined by the notices received, on a draft of the Inventory. EPA will publish the draft Inventory with the active designations “as soon as is practicable” following the close of the 180-day submission period. The draft Inventory will not have the legal effect of actually designating any chemical substance as inactive, however, and EPA does not construe it as the list with “designations of active substances and inactive substances” from which forward-looking reporting commences. EPA states that it concludes that new TSCA is referring to the completed product of the initial cycle of sorting between active and inactive substances, not the preliminary product of the initial cycle of such sorting.
More information on the TSCA Inventory rulemaking and TSCA Inventory issues is available on our blog under key phrase TSCA Inventory and on our TSCA Reform News & Information webpage.
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 September 1, 2017, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) filed a petition for review in the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (No. 17-1201) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) framework rule TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements, published on August 11, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 37520).
This is the third and final challenge by EDF to the framework rules implementing amended TSCA (there are only three framework rules), but the seventh total challenge, as other parties have also petitioned for review. On August 11, 2017, EDF petitioned for review of the TSCA framework rules Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation under TSCA and the final rule Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation, filed on August 11 (Second Cir. Case Nos. 17-2464 and 17-2403, respectively). Per the Consolidation Orders of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, both of EDF’s August 11 petitions have now been consolidated with other petitions for review of the same orders. Case No. 17-2464 was moved to the Fourth Circuit, and Case No. 2403 was moved to the Ninth Circuit.
In the Fourth Circuit, the opening brief, record from agency, and the appendix are due September 20, 2017, and the response brief is due October 20, 2017. In the Ninth Circuit, the Petitioners’ briefs are due October 30, 2017, and Respondent EPA’s briefs are due November 28, 2017.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On August 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the third Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) framework final rule in the Federal Register, the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements. This final rule is effective as of August 11, 2017 (the date of publication).
As further detailed in the final rulemaking, chemical manufacturers and importers are required to submit notifications for chemicals that were manufactured or imported over the ten year look-back period of June 21, 2006, to June 21, 2016. Pursuant to the rulemaking, the retrospective reporting period for manufacturers begins on August 11, 2017, and ends on February 7, 2018. The submission period for processors also begins on August 11, 2017, but processors have until October 5, 2018, to submit retrospective activity notifications.
More information on the final rule is available in our memorandum EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.