Attempts to limit the use of hazardous substances in Europe are being hindered by poor implementation of Europe’s chemical laws

Read the full story from the European Environmental Bureau.

Governments who want to limit the use of toxic chemicals are being set a high burden of proof while industry concerns are being accepted with little evidence by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), analysis by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has found.

US EPA issues final TSCA framework rules

Read the full story in Chemical Watch. Hat tip to Mary Buetow of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute for the pointer. Check out their bi-weekly Greenlist Bulletin.

Three final framework rules under the new TSCA, as well as scoping documents for the first ten substances subject to risk evaluation, were due to be issued by the US EPA within a matter of hours as Chemical Watch went to press today.

The release of the documents comes on the one-year anniversary of passage of the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – and on its statutory deadline for actions that must be completed within a year of the law’s passage.

The rules are:

  • the prioritisation rule, which outlines the process by which the EPA will prioritise existing chemicals for evaluating their risks, including the criteria for designating chemical substances as high-priority or low-priority substances for risk evaluation;
  • the risk evaluation rule, describing how the agency will evaluate the risk posed by existing substances to determine whether they present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment; and
  • the ‘inventory reset’ rule, which lays out how the agency will designate substances on the TSCA inventory as ‘active’ and ‘inactive’.

See also:

EPA staffers, Trump official clashed over new chemical rules

Read the full story in Politico.

The Trump administration released the nation’s most important chemical-safety rules in decades Thursday — but only after making a series of business-friendly changes overseen by a former industry advocate who holds a top post at the EPA.

Career agency employees had raised objections to the changes steered by EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Nancy Beck, who until April was the senior director of regulatory science policy at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s leading lobbying group. Those include limits on how broadly the agency would review thousands of potentially hazardous substances, EPA staffers wrote in an internal memo reviewed by POLITICO.

Watchdog faults EPA’s chemical safety tools

Read the full story in The Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog wants it to better manage the ways it uses technology to help test the safety of chemicals.

The EPA’s inspector general said two offices in the agency — the research and development office and the chemical safety office — have successfully collaborated to build and use tools for risk analysis, finding safety data and other functions in the chemical testing process.

But the chemical safety office lacks a strong process for ensuring that the cooperation goes smoothly and can last and could benefit from better “management controls,” the inspector general wrote in a Friday report.

Initial Release of the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Data

EPA is releasing initial data collected under EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule from the 2016 CDR reporting period. This initial release of the 2016 CDR data includes national production volume, other manufacturing information, and processing and use information, but does not include information that was claimed by the submitter to be confidential business information (CBI) or information that is being withheld to protect CBI.

EPA anticipates releasing additional data in FY 2018 after the completion of an ongoing CBI substantiation process required by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended TSCA.

There are a number of changes since the 2012 CDR, including new information as a result of new lower threshold for reporting chemicals subject to certain TSCA actions and changes to processing and use reporting. CDR data is collected every four years, with the latest submission period ending on October 31, 2016.

The CDR information collection is carried out pursuant to section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the CDR rule, EPA collects basic exposure-related information on the types, quantities and uses of chemical substances produced domestically and imported into the United States. This information constitutes a comprehensive source of basic screening-level, exposure-related information on chemicals available to EPA, and is used by the Agency to help assess potential health or environmental effects of chemicals in commerce.

The 2016 CDR data is available via ChemView: https://java.epa.gov/chemview

Learn more about CDR.

 

How many chemicals are in use today? EPA struggles to keep its chemical inventory up to date

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

No one, not even the Environmental Protection Agency, knows how many chemicals are in use today. EPA has more than 85,000 chemicals listed on its inventory of substances that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). But the agency is struggling to get a handle on which of those chemicals are in the marketplace today and how they are actually being used.

Comment Period Extended for Two Rules on TCE

EPA is extending the comment period for two proposed rules on Trichloroethylene (TCE), a toxic chemical with human health concerns identified by EPA in a 2014 risk assessment. EPA proposed these rules in December and January to ban certain uses of the chemical in aerosol degreasing, as a spot cleaner in dry cleaning facilities, and in commercial vapor degreasing.

The comment period for the proposed ban on TCE as an aerosol degreaser and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities is extended to March 16.

The comment period for the proposed ban on TCE as a commercial vapor degreaser is extended to April 19.

Read more about the rulemaking here.