Confidential Status Change of TSCA Chemicals

The confidential business information status of chemicals on the TSCA Inventory is scheduled for change, removing the confidential chemical identity status for 390 chemicals.  This will move the chemicals to the public portion of the TSCA Inventory.  During the 2012, 2016, and 2020 reporting periods, one or more manufacturers reported these chemicals as non-confidential, which is a result of at least one of these manufacturers not reporting a previous confidential chemical as confidential.

EPA recognizes that some manufacturers may have simply been in error for not reporting their chemicals as confidential.  However, EPA states that for each of the 390 chemicals, there is independent reporting based and EPA validated reasons to include the chemicals on the list.  EPA intends to move these chemicals from the confidential chemical identity status of the TSCA Inventory to the public portion sometime during the summer of 2021.

EPA also recognizes stakeholder interest in the status change for these chemicals and has given June 30, 2021 as a deadline for interest, questions, or concerns regarding the change.

ITC Submits New Priority Testing List

The TSCA Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) submitted a report to EPA on April 13, 2020 listing an additional 39 chemicals on the priority testing list.  Within the 39 chemicals, 15 are already designated as high-priority substances and 24 are organohalogen flame retardants.  The priority testing list currently has five other high-priority substances and six organohalogen flame retardants.  The high-priority substance list contains substances with the most demand for evaluation from a risk-based screening process.

ITC also recommended the 15 high-priority substances be added to TSCA section 8(d) Health and Safety Data Reporting rule in order for EPA to obtain unpublished health and safety studies.  The report states the high-priority substances may present an unreasonable risk for the health of people and/or the environment.  The risk evaluation process has already begun for each of these high-priority substances.

The 24 organohalogen flame retardants were added to the priority testing listing after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted to ask the ITC to add the chemicals.  In addition, CPSC granted a petition to begin rulemaking for additive, nonpolymeric organohalogen flame retardants under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act

EPA is currently seeking public comments on the revisions to the priority testing list and any information relevant to the listing.  The comment period is open until May 28, 2021.

Manufacturer Request for Risk Evaluation of OTNE

On November 20, 2020, EPA received a manufacturer request for risk evaluation for the chemical substances in the octahydro-tetramethyl-naphthalenyl-ethanone chemical category (OTNE).  These substances are used as fragrance ingredients.  The three manufacturers, International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., Privi Organics USA Corporation, and DRT America, Inc., sent the request through the OTNE Consortium.

The risk evaluation request applies to four chemicals within OTNE.  The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) considers two of the chemicals to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals.  While completing the risk evaluation for the OTNE chemical, EPA is not allowed to consider costs or other non-risk factors (15 U.S.C. 2605(b)(4)(F)(iii)).  The request for evaluation also includes possible conditions of use for EPA to identify.

EPA has until no later than June 5, 2021 to either grant or deny the request to conduct the risk evaluation for the OTNE chemicals.  In order for EPA to grant the request, it must meet all of the requirements listed under 40 CFR 702.37(e)(6)(ii).  These conditions are that the request constitutes conditions of use that warrant inclusion in a risk evaluation, EPA has all the necessary information to conduct the risk evaluation, and all the remaining criteria of 40 CFR 702.37 are met, such as manufacturers paying fees to support the risk evaluations.

EPA Changing Systematic Review Approach

In February 2021, EPA announced the Agency’s commitment to strengthening science used in chemical risk evaluations.  EPA stated the Agency will continue to update its systematic review approach and its broader efforts to review the first 10 TSCA risk evaluations.  The first 10 TSCA risk evaluations were complete in January 2021.  Following the review of their 2018 systematic review approach by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS), EPA stated they will never use that particular systematic review again.

NAS recommendations included:

  • Engaging in ongoing cross-sector efforts to develop and validate new tools and approaches.
  • Incorporating components of existing hazard assessments approaches.
  • Creating a handbook to assist with incomplete and hard to follow documentation.
  • Using standard descriptors for the strength of evidence.

EPA stressed that the NAS report was based on earlier EPA practices, and part of the reason for updating the systematic review approach is to ensure the review of the first 10 TSCA risk evaluations are done in accordance with Executive Orders and other directives from the Biden Administration.  The Agency’s goals from the review are that:

  • All Agency actions meet statutory obligations,
  • Be guided by the best available science,
  • Ensure the integrity of Federal decision-making, and
  • Protect human health and the environment.

EPA has begun the process of creating a TSCA systematic review protocol in collaboration with the Agency’s Office of Research and Development.  The new review protocol will incorporate approaches from the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program, as recommended by NAS.  EPA expects to publish and take comments on the new review protocol later this year.

Proposed TSCA Fee Rule Changes

On December 18, 2020, EPA signed a proposed rule revision for TSCA fees to defray costs for activities under TSCA sections 4, 5, and 6.  This revision proposes updates to the 2018 fees rule and requires EPA to review the fees every three years with ability to adjust the fees.  This adds three new fee categories of 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.

The Bona Fide Intent to Manufacture or Import Notice covers EPA costs of reviewing bona fide notices.  The 2018 Fee Rule did not have any fees associated with reviewing the notices.  The cost is proposed as 500 dollars, and 90 dollars for small businesses.

The Notice of Commencement (NOC) of Manufacture or Import requires those who submit premanufacture notices to provide notice to the EPA within 30 days of when the chemical substance is first manufactured or imported.  Unlike the new Bona Fide Fee proposal, the NOC fees already existed under the 2018 Fee Rule, but fell under other categories, such as premanufacture notices.  The new proposal will have NOC fees as their own category and are proposed as 500 dollars, and 90 dollars for small businesses.

The new proposed fee associated with test orders applies to recipients who fail to follow terms or conditions of an original order.  Under the 2018 Fee Rule, the recipient had the option to redo the testing and submit new data without paying additional costs from the original test order.  The proposed fee with require payment for the original test order and any resubmitted data.  The new fee for resubmitted data is proposed to be equal to the cost of reviewing the initial data.

EPA is also proposing exemptions to some fee triggering activities:

  • an exemption for research and development activities on fees for EPA-initiated risk evaluations,
  • an exemption for entities manufacturing less than 2,500 lbs. of a chemical subject to an EPA-initiated risk evaluation fee;
  • an exemption for manufacturers of chemical substances produced as a non-isolated intermediate on fees for EPA-initiated risk evaluations;
  • 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

Two other notable proposed changes are:

  • EPA proposes a volume-based fee allocation for EPA-initiated risk evaluation fees in any situation that does not involve a consortium.
  • EPA proposes export-only manufacturers to pay fees for EPA-initiated risk evaluations.

EPA Proposes Non-Consent-Order SNURs for 13 Chemical Substances

On October 16, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would establish Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 13 chemical substances for which premanufacture notices (PMNs) have been approved during the two years since the statute was amended. A total of 6 SNURs were proposed for these 13 substances. Unlike other recent SNURs enacted after TSCA was amended, the 13 chemical substances are not also subject to consent orders. Indeed, all previously proposed and final SNURs for PMNs under amended TSCA were for substances for which EPA had previously negotiated orders under TSCA Section 5(e).

The proposed SNURs would require that persons who intend to manufacture (including import) or process any of the 13 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use submit a “Significant New Use Notice” to EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. And, consistent with the SNUR regulations at 40 CFR § 721.25, the proposed rule states that persons may not commence the manufacture or processing for the significant new use until EPA has conducted a review of the notice and decided on the notice, and the person has taken any actions as are required as a result of that determination. Comments on the proposed SNURs are due November 15, 2018.

EPA Publishes Direct Final Rules for 29 Significant New Use Rules

On August 27, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two direct final rules promulgating significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The first direct final rule promulgates SNURs for ten chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). 83 Fed. Reg. 43527. The second direct final rule promulgates SNURs for 19 chemical substances that were the subject of PMNs. 83 Fed. Reg. 43538. All 29 chemical substances are subject to consent orders issued by EPA pursuant to TSCA Section 5(e). The rules require persons who intend to manufacture (including import) or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that new use.

The covered chemicals vary, but include several substances intended for use as coatings additives. The requirements for each of the substances differ, but may include limitations on the uses of the substance, hazard communication, personal protective equipment use, and the submission of certain toxicity testing data. Both direct final rules will be effective on October 26, 2018.

EPA Publishes Final Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory

On June 27, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final “Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory” Rule. As required under section 8(b)(10)(D) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA finalized reporting requirements for regulated entities to provide information to assist in the preparation of an “inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States.”

The requirements apply to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process. The reporting requirements apply to “mercury” as both “elemental mercury” and “a mercury compound.” EPA provides a list of these compounds in the final rule. Reporting requirements vary based on whether the entity is manufacturing mercury, manufacturing a mercury added product, or intentionally using mercury in a manufacturing process, other than the manufacture of a mercury compound or a mercury-added product. EPA will collect data through the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application of its CDX system.

Based on the inventory of information collected, the Agency is directed to “identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury; and . . . recommend actions, including proposed revisions of Federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use.” EPA stated in the final rule that it is not making such identifications or recommendations at this time.

EPA will use data from the 2018 reporting year for the 2020 mercury inventory. The 2018 reporting year is from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and the submission deadline for the 2018 reporting year is July 1, 2019.

Sherwin-Williams to Remove Paint-Removal Products Containing Methylene Chloride

Sherwin-Williams is phasing out the use of paint-removal products containing methylene chloride by the end of this year. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have also announced they will phase out paint removal products that contain methylene chloride. These actions are likely a response to EPA’s forthcoming rulemaking on the substance.

In January, 2017, EPA proposed prohibiting the consumer and commercial paint stripping used for methylene chloride. On May 10, 2018, EPA announced it was working on sending the finalized rulemaking to Office of Management and Budget “shortly.”

TSCA Fees Rule — Release of Supplemental Information and Comment Period Extension

On April 24, 2018, EPA released for public comment a supplemental analysis on the definitions of small business size and their effect on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) user fee collection. In the proposed fees rule EPA released in February, small businesses can quality for reduced fee amounts. For the supplemental analysis, EPA requested comment on:

  • Whether an employee-based size standard (how many people are working there) would be more appropriate than a revenue-based size standard (how much revenue comes in), and what that employee level should be (note: the revenue level standard is already in the proposed rule);
  • Whether either size standard should vary from industry to industry for any reason;
  • What other factors and data sources the Agency should consider, besides inflation, when developing the size standard; and
  • What should the new TSCA section 5 fee amounts be if EPA changes the size standard?

EPA is also extending the comment period for the proposed TSCA fees rule until May 24, 2018. This is meant to give interested parties more time to comment on both the rule and the supplemental analysis.