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Biden-Harris EPA Provides Updates on Chemical Safety Actions
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On February 5, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is reviewing actions issued under the previous Administration and will take any needed steps to ensure that they protect human health and the environment. The announcement included an update on the following chemical safety actions that have immediate or near-term effective dates or other steps associated with them. According to the announcement, these actions, along with other chemical safety actions identified by the Biden-Harris Administration, “will undergo review (and, as necessary, revisions) to ensure they are protective of human health and the environment.”
PBT Final Rules
Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA was required to take expedited action on certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals and promulgate final risk management actions no later than the statutory deadline of December 2020. As reported in our December 23, 2020, memorandum, EPA released on December 22, 2020, final rules under TSCA Section 6(h) for five PBT chemicals -- 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP) (86 Fed. Reg. 866); decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) (86 Fed. Reg. 880); hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) (86 Fed. Reg. 922); pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP) (86 Fed. Reg. 911); and phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) (86 Fed. Reg. 894). The final rules took effect February 5, 2021. EPA states that it “is aware of concerns about these rules, including implementation issues, that have been raised by a range of stakeholders and may consider additional measures, approaches, or revisions that build upon the steps taken thus far.”
Dust Lead Post-Abatement Clearance Level (DLCL) Final Rule
In January 2021, EPA issued a final rule establishing lower clearance levels for the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and window sills after lead removal activities (abatement), strengthening lead regulations to protect children’s health. 86 Fed. Reg. 983. The DLCL final rule goes into effect on March 8, 2021. EPA states that it will continue to consider the DLCL final rule and the related final rule for Dust-Lead Hazard Standards, which was revised in 2019, as a part of its broader review of actions, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.
TSCA Risk Evaluations and Risk Management for First Ten Chemicals
EPA issued final TSCA risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals starting in June 2020 and immediately began the risk management process for each of these chemicals. According to EPA, while outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for these chemicals will continue to move forward, EPA “is actively reviewing the final risk evaluations in light of statutory obligations and policy objectives related to use of the best available science and protection of human health and the environment, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.” More information on the final risk evaluations is available in our memoranda available at https://www.lawbc.com/regulatory-developments/tsca.