By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On December 10, 2021, the Biden Administration released its Fall 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule list, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is working on the following rulemakings under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Rulemakings at the proposed stage include:
- Tiered Data Reporting to Inform Prioritization, Risk Evaluation, and Risk Management Under TSCA (2070-AK62): EPA is developing this rule to obtain information about potential hazards and exposure pathways related to certain chemicals, particularly occupational, environmental, and consumer exposure information. EPA states that this information is needed to inform prioritization, risk evaluation, and risk management of the chemical substances under TSCA Section 6. EPA intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in July 2022 and a final rule in March 2023. More information on the rulemaking is available in our July 29, 2021, memorandum;
- Revisions to the TSCA Fees Rule (2070-AK64): In January 2021, EPA proposed updates and adjustments to the 2018 TSCA Fees Rule. EPA proposed to add three new fee categories: a Bona Fide Intent to Manufacture or Import Notice, a Notice of Commencement of Manufacture or Import, and an additional fee associated with test orders. In addition, EPA proposed exemptions for entities subject to certain fee triggering activities, including: an exemption for research and development activities; an exemption for entities manufacturing less than 2,500 pounds of a chemical subject to an EPA-initiated risk evaluation fee; an exemption for manufacturers of chemical substances produced as a non-isolated intermediate; and exemptions for manufacturers of a chemical substance subject to an EPA-initiated risk evaluation if the chemical substance is imported in an article, produced as a byproduct, or produced or imported as an impurity. EPA proposed a volume-based fee allocation for EPA-initiated risk evaluation fees in any scenario where a consortium is not formed and proposed to require export-only manufacturers to pay fees for EPA-initiated risk evaluations. EPA states that in light of public comments, it has decided to issue a supplemental proposal and seek additional public comment on changes to the January 2021 proposal. EPA intends to issue a supplemental NPRM in February 2022. EPA has not determined when it will issue a final rule. More information on the proposed rule is available in our December 30, 2020, memorandum;
- New Chemicals Procedural Regulations to Reflect Amendments to TSCA (2070-AK65): This rulemaking seeks to revise the new chemicals procedural regulations in 40 C.F.R. Part 720 to improve the efficiency of EPA’s review process and to align its processes and procedures with the new statutory requirements. According to EPA, this rulemaking seeks to increase the quality of information initially submitted in new chemicals notices and improve its processes “to reduce unnecessary rework in the risk assessment and, ultimately, the length of time that new chemicals are under review.” EPA intends to publish an NPRM in September 2022. EPA has not determined when it will issue a final rule;
- Procedures for Submitting Information Subject to Business Confidentiality Claims Under TSCA (2070-AK68): EPA states that it is considering proposing new and amended rules concerning the assertion and maintenance of claims of business confidentiality (i.e., confidential business information (CBI)) under TSCA. The 2016 TSCA amendments included several new provisions concerning the assertion and EPA review and treatment of confidentiality claims. EPA is considering procedures for submitting and supporting such claims in TSCA submissions, including substantiation requirements, exemptions, electronic reporting enhancements, and maintenance or withdrawal of confidentiality claims. EPA is also considering whether the proposed rule should elaborate on EPA’s procedures for reviewing and communicating with TSCA submitters about confidentiality claims. According to EPA, it expects the proposed rule to include new provisions, as well as revisions to existing rules on asserting confidentiality claims to conform to the 2016 amendments. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in April 2022;
- Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD); Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a) (2070-AK71): TSCA Section 6 requires EPA to address unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator has determined are presented by a chemical substance under the conditions of use. Following a TSCA Section 6 risk evaluation for HBCD, EPA initiated rulemaking to address unreasonable risks of injury to health and the environment identified in the final risk evaluation. EPA intends to publish an NPRM by September 2022 and a final rule by April 2024. More information on the final risk evaluation is available in our September 28, 2020, memorandum;
- 1-Bromopropane; Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a) (2070-AK73): TSCA Section 6 requires EPA to address unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator has determined are presented by a chemical substance under the conditions of use. Following a TSCA Section 6 risk evaluation for 1-bromopropane, EPA initiated rulemaking to address unreasonable risks of injury to health identified in the final risk evaluation. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in October 2022 and a final rule in May 2024. More information on the final risk evaluation is available in our August 11, 2020, memorandum;
- Carbon Tetrachloride; Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a) (2070-AK82): TSCA Section 6 requires EPA to address unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator has determined are presented by a chemical substance under the conditions of use. Following a TSCA Section 6 risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride, EPA initiated rulemaking to address unreasonable risks of injury to health identified in the final risk evaluation. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in October 2022 and a final rule in June 2024. More information on the final risk evaluation is available in our November 4, 2020, memorandum;
- Trichloroethylene (TCE); Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a) (2070-AK83): TSCA Section 6 requires EPA to address unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator has determined are presented by a chemical substance under the conditions of use. Following a TSCA Section 6 risk evaluation for TCE carried out under the authority of TSCA Section 6, EPA initiated rulemaking to address unreasonable risks of injury to health identified in the final risk evaluation. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in October 2022 and a final rule in June 2024. More information on the final risk evaluation is available in our November 24, 2020, memorandum;
- Asbestos (Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos); Rulemaking under TSCA Section 6(a) (2070-AK86): TSCA Section 6 requires EPA to address unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment that the Administrator has determined are presented by a chemical substance under the conditions of use. Following a TSCA Section 6 risk evaluation for chrysotile asbestos, EPA initiated rulemaking to address unreasonable risks of injury to health identified in the final risk evaluation. EPA intends to issue an NPRM by April 2022 and a final rule by November 2023. More information on the final risk evaluation is available in our January 4, 2021, memorandum;
- Reconsideration of Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation Under the Amended TSCA (2070-AK90): EPA published a final rule on July 20, 2017, that established a process for conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, without consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation, under the conditions of use. This process incorporates the science requirements of the amended statute, including best available science and weight of the scientific evidence. The final rule established the steps of a risk evaluation process, including: scope, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and risk determination. EPA states that it is now in the process of reconsidering the final rule in keeping with new executive orders (EO) concerning the advancement of racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government (EO 13985), the protection of public health and the environment and restoring science to tackle the climate crisis (EO 13990), tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad (EO 14008), and other Administration priorities (such as the Presidential memorandum on restoring trust in government through scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking). If EPA determines to amend the 2017 final rule based on its reconsideration, it will solicit public comment through an NPRM. EPA intends to publish an NPRM in September 2022;
- Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals Under TSCA Section 6(h); Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)); Further Compliance Date Extension (2070-AK95): EPA proposed in October 2021 to amend the regulations applicable to PIP (3:1) promulgated under TSCA. Specifically, EPA proposes to extend the compliance date applicable to the processing and distribution in commerce of certain PIP (3:1)-containing articles and the PIP (3:1) used to make those articles until October 31, 2024, along with the associated recordkeeping requirements for manufacturers, processors, and distributors of PIP (3:1)-containing articles. EPA notes that the articles covered by the proposed rule include a wide range of key consumer and commercial goods such as cellular telephones, laptop computers, and other electronic and electrical devices and industrial and commercial equipment used in various sectors, including transportation, construction, agriculture, forestry, mining, life sciences, and semiconductor production. The proposed rule follows a recently-issued final rule that extended the compliance date applicable to the processing and distribution in commerce of certain PIP (3:1)-containing articles, and the PIP (3:1) used to make those articles, from March 8, 2021, to March 8, 2022, along with the associated recordkeeping requirements. Comments on the proposed rule are due December 27, 2021. EPA intends to issue a final rule in March 2022. More information on the proposed rule is available in our October 25, 2021, memorandum; and
- TSCA Section 8(a) Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Asbestos (2070-AK99): This rulemaking, under the authority of TSCA Section 8(a), would require the maintenance of records and submission to EPA of reports by manufacturers, importers, and processors of asbestos and mixtures and articles containing asbestos (including as an impurity). EPA states that the information sought includes data on the quantities of asbestos used in making products, employee exposure data, and waste disposal data. Reported information would be used by EPA and other federal agencies in considering the regulation of asbestos. EPA intends to issue an NPRM in March 2022 and a final rule in November 2022.
The Unified Agenda lists the following TSCA rulemaking at the final stage:
- Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices (PMN) (2070-AJ94): EPA proposed amending components of the Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations at 40 C.F.R. Part 721, specifically the “Protection in the Workplace” (40 C.F.R. Section 721.63) and “Hazard Communication Program” (40 C.F.R. Section 721.72). 81 Fed. Reg. 49598. The proposed changes are intended to align, where possible, EPA’s regulations with the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations at 29 C.F.R. Section 1910.1200. OSHA issued a final rule on March 26, 2012, (77 Fed. Reg. 17573) that aligns OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standards with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). EPA states that it is reviewing the comments received and is planning to issue a final rule. EPA intends to issue a final rule in September 2022. More information on EPA’s 2016 proposed rule is available in our July 29, 2016, memorandum.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on August 5, 2021, to clarify concepts from the July 27, 2021, tiered data reporting (TDR) webinar. EPA’s meeting summary states that EDF representatives requested clarification on the following issues discussed during the webinar:
- Whether EPA intends to scale back the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements with respect to the amount of information collected per chemical or to the number of chemicals reported.
- EPA responded that the changes to CDR discussed in the webinar presentation would reduce the data collected per chemical and would not impact which chemicals were required to be reported under CDR.
- Whether the data expected to be used to inform the identification of potential candidate chemicals for prioritization was limited to CDR.
- EPA responded that the webinar presentation was not intended to identify all sources of information that would be used for the various steps of the overall existing chemicals process, including informing the identification of the pool of potential candidate chemicals for the prioritization process. Rather, the intent was to identify the data that would be available from either CDR or TDR for use for each step in the process.
- Reasoning behind EPA’s decisions regarding timing of the collection tiers and selected data elements.
- EPA responded that the specifics of what data elements would be included in which collection tiers was under development and that the Agency is interested in comments from EDF or other stakeholders to help inform the TDR proposal.
- Whether EPA had any more details about the post-risk management stage, which was included in the webinar presentation as “TBD.”
- EPA responded that there were no additional details at this time.
More information on EPA’s July 27, 2021, webinar is available in our July 29, 2021, memorandum. As reported in our August 6, 2021, blog item, EPA posted a memorandum in Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0436 stating that it will not extend the August 16, 2021, comment period stemming from the July 27, 2021, public webinar.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
According to a memorandum posted in Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0436, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not extend the comment period stemming from the July 27, 2021, public webinar on the development of a proposed rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to implement a tiered data collection strategy intended to inform EPA’s prioritization, risk evaluation, and risk management activities for chemical substances or mixtures. As reported in our July 29, 2021, memorandum, EPA is exploring a data reporting rule that is tiered to specific stages of the TSCA existing chemicals program: identifying a pool of substances as potential candidates for prioritization; selecting candidate chemicals for and completing the prioritization process; and assessing high-priority substances through a robust risk evaluation that may be followed by risk management actions (depending on the outcome of the risk evaluation). According to the memorandum posted in the docket, the August 16, 2021, deadline is for EPA’s use in the current stage of its rulemaking development. While EPA will consider later comments as it continues to develop the proposed rule, EPA states that “comments submitted at this point will be especially useful to EPA and stand a greater chance of influencing the rulemaking.” Because there will be other opportunities to comment on the tiered data reporting rule, including during the public comment period following publication of the proposed rule, EPA “do[es] not believe that an extension of the comment period is necessary.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On November 14, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prioritization and risk evaluation rules. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families v. EPA, No. 17-72260. Petitioners argued that provisions in the risk evaluation rule relating to EPA’s evaluation of the risks from a substance’s “conditions of use” violate several of the Toxic Substances Control Act’s (TSCA) requirements. Specifically, petitioners claimed that: (1) TSCA requires EPA to evaluate risks associated with a chemical’s uses collectively before determining that the chemical is safe; (2) EPA must consider all of a chemical’s conditions of use in that evaluation; and (3) when considering conditions of use, EPA must evaluate past disposals of all chemicals, as well as the use and subsequent disposal of chemicals not currently or prospectively manufactured or distributed in commerce for that use. Petitioners maintained that various provisions of the risk evaluation rule demonstrate that EPA will not do any of these three things. The court held that it lacks jurisdiction to review petitioners’ first challenge, and that their second challenge fails on the merits. The court granted in part the petition for review with respect to petitioners’ third challenge to EPA’s exclusion of “legacy uses” and “associated disposals” from the definition of “conditions of use,” and those portions of the risk evaluation rule’s preamble are vacated. The court notes that because petitioners’ challenges to EPA’s prioritization rule are “entirely encompassed” within their challenges to the risk evaluation rule, the challenges rise or fall together. The court thus focused only on the risk evaluation rule.
More information on the case is available in the following blog items:
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On June 28, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed its response to the non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) supplemental brief in a case challenging EPA’s prioritization and risk evaluation rules. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families v. EPA, No. 17-72260. According to EPA, petitioners “have plausibly alleged standing to challenge only the definitional interpretation of ‘conditions of use’ and the two provisions still subject to EPA’s motion for voluntary remand.” As to the remainder of petitioners’ claims, EPA maintains that their allegations “are based on hypotheticals and other non-final agency actions currently being considered by the agency.” EPA argues that the court should dismiss petitioners’ challenges to: (1) EPA’s preamble statements about the potential scope of future risk evaluations; (2) EPA’s regulatory provisions leaving the door open to issue early risk determinations; and (3) the remaining information-gathering provisions still at issue. EPA states that if it “ever takes final agency actions based on the decisions Petitioners hypothesize, those would be the proper actions for Petitioners’ challenges.”
A coalition of industry associations filed a supplemental brief in support of EPA on June 28, 2019. The coalition states: “Although it is theoretically possible that EPA could exclude a use of a particular chemical that could affect the risk evaluation in a way that could cause the agency not to regulate some use of a chemical that could injure Petitioners’ members, that does not create a justiciable controversy now, before the Rules have been applied.” (Emphasis in original.) The coalition asks the court to dismiss the petitions for lack of jurisdiction.
As reported in our June 26, 2019, blog item, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments on May 16, 2019, and afterward ordered petitioners to file a supplemental brief addressing why they should be allowed to bring a lawsuit against EPA.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On May 16, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in a case filed by non-governmental organizations (NGO) challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prioritization and risk evaluation rules. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families v. EPA, No. 17-72260. During oral arguments, the court asked the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) whether it had standing to be before the court. NRDC responded that it does, arguing that EPA’s rules violate the statutory requirements of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The court suggested that petitioners could wait to see whether EPA will ignore certain uses of chemicals in its risk evaluations. EPA maintained that petitioners were raising a challenge to a hypothetical scenario and that EPA has the legal discretion to study whichever chemical uses it sees fit. Following oral argument, on May 16, 2019, the court ordered petitioners to file a supplemental brief addressing why they should be allowed to bring a lawsuit against EPA. The petitioners filed their supplemental brief on June 3, 2019, arguing that they have standing because the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Framework Rules threaten their members’ concrete interests in minimizing toxic chemical exposures; they have information standing for each of their challenges to the Framework Rules; and their claims are ripe. EPA was granted an extension and its response is due June 28, 2019.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.
On March 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was releasing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process required by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). New TSCA requires EPA to designate 20 chemicals as “high-priority” for subsequent risk evaluation and 20 chemicals as “low-priority,” meaning that risk evaluation is not warranted at this time. The 20 high priority candidate chemicals include:
- Seven chlorinated solvents;
- Six phthalates;
- Four flame retardants;
- Formaldehyde (which has been studied by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program for many years);
- A fragrance additive; and
- A polymer pre-curser.
EPA is also currently determining whether to conduct a risk evaluation of two additional phthalates. The 20 low priority candidate chemicals have been selected from EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, which includes chemicals that have been evaluated and determined to meet EPA's safer choice criteria.
Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, stated that initiating a chemical for high or low prioritization “does not mean EPA has determined it poses unreasonable risk or no risk to human health or the environment,” however. EPA states that is it releasing this list “to provide the public an opportunity to submit relevant information such as the uses, hazards, and exposure for these chemicals.” EPA is scheduled to publish the notice regarding this list in the Federal Register on March 21, 2019. The pre-publication notice is available here. Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA is opening a docket for each of the 40 chemicals. EPA is then directed to complete the prioritization process in the next nine to 12 months, allowing EPA to designate 20 chemicals as high priority and 20 chemicals as low priority.
Please be on the lookout for our memorandum that will contain more information regarding EPA’s list. It will be posted on our Regulatory Developments webpage.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On October 5, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the general approaches that the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) may use to identify potential candidate chemicals for prioritization under TSCA. 83 Fed. Reg. 50366. EPA notes that it will seek public comment on the approach document and on which chemicals should be identified as potential candidates for the initial 20 high-priority and 20 low-priority chemicals that must be identified pursuant to TSCA Section 6(b)(2)(B). Comments are due by November 15, 2018.
The document, A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization, lays out EPA’s thinking regarding a near-term approach for identifying potential chemicals for prioritization, the initial step in evaluating the safety of existing chemicals under TSCA. The approach document also includes a longer-term risk-based strategy for managing the larger TSCA chemical landscape that, according to the portion of the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory (Inventory) that includes the substances designated as active (TSCA Active Inventory), is expected to include over 38,000 chemicals reported as “active” under the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements final rule. More information is available in our memorandum “EPA Releases Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization under TSCA.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On September 28, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was releasing the approach it will use to identify chemicals that could be included in the next group of risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) titled “A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization” (Working Approach). EPA states that the information set forth in this document is “intended to describe the general approaches EPA may consider to identify existing chemicals as potential candidates for prioritization,” and the ultimate goal of these approaches “is to identify potential candidates from which EPA will select candidates for prioritization, consistent with its regulations at 40 C.F.R. § 702.5.”
EPA also released the pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice of availability of the Working Approach and “A Summary of Public Comments By Topic” (Summary). The pre-publication notice states that EPA will be opening a public docket to accept comments on the Working Approach until November 15, 2018. These comments will inform a public meeting to be held in early 2019. Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will open 74 chemical-specific public dockets, one for each of the 73 remaining chemicals on the 2014 Update to the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments that have not received manufacturer requests for EPA evaluation and an additional general docket for chemicals not on the Work Plan. These dockets will be open until December 1, 2019. A link to the list of these dockets is available here.
More information on TSCA implementation is available on our website under key phrase Lautenberg Implementation.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On January 5, 2018, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a Petition for Review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Second Circuit) of what is characterized as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “final rule” issued November 7, 2017, entitled “New Chemicals Decision-Making Framework: Working Approach to Making Determinations under Section 5 of TSCA.” The Framework Document, as it has come to be called, is the “final rule” at issue and was posted in EPA’s docket opened for comments related to its two Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) public meetings that took place in December. It is reasonable to assume that the Framework Document is not referred to by EPA as a final rule and was not published in the Federal Register as a final rule because EPA believes it is a document that outlines a conceptual approach to how EPA may go about making decisions on new chemicals. EPA specifically states the document, referred to as a “draft” in the Federal Register notice that announced the two public meetings, “outlines EPA’s approach to making decisions on new chemical notices submitted to EPA under TSCA section 5, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” and includes EPA’s “general decision framework for new chemicals” and a breakdown of how EPA “intends to approach each of the five types of new-chemical determinations required under the statute.”
The citizen action petition raises novel and interesting legal questions, and is quite different from the other petitions for review, one for each framework final rule, that are pending. Whether the newest legal challenge will survive procedural motions that EPA can be expected to file to dismiss the action remains to be seen. More information on the framework rule petitions for review is available on our blog under key phrases framework rules and petition for review.