On February 14, 2012, EPA formally announced that it was denying the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to ban or restrict lead (Pb) in fishing tackle – fishing weights, sinkers, lures,jigs, etc. – pursuant to section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The agency stated succinctly: “After careful review, EPA has determined that, while the petition does provide evidence ofexposure and a risk to waterfowl in some areas ofthe United States, it does not provide a basis for finding that the risk presented is an unreasonable risk for which federal action under section 6(a) of TSCA is necessary to adequately protect against such risks.” In other words, CBD failed to show that (a) an unreasonable risk of injury was present, and (b) that risk required federal action to correct. A copy of EPA’s letter is available here, and the Federal Register notice, setting out the complete supporting analysis, is available here. CBD’s petition is avaialble here.
EPA reasoned that existing federal and state regulatory and educational efforts were sufficiently protective. “Your petition does not demonstrate why federal action is necessary given the mix of regulatory and education actions state agencies and the Federal Government already are taking to address the impact of lead fishing tackle on local environments. The risk described in the petition does appear to be more prevalent in some geographic areas than others, and the trend over the past decade has been for increasing state and localized federal activity regarding lead in fishing tackle. The petition does not demonstrate that these state and local efforts are ineffective or have failed to reduce the exposure and risks presented to waterfowl in particular.” In other words, the data simply weren’t there to support the petitioners’ request.