Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.
One thing I’ve learned in observing EPA try to operate under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) over the years is that – faced with limited authority and significant evidentiary and resource burdens – the Agency often has to resort to a workaround to get something it needs to do done.
Can’t ban a nasty chemical? Wait until it’s voluntarily withdrawn and then pounce on it with a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) to try to wedge the door closed. Witness PFOS and penta and octaBDE. (Under TSCA, without a SNUR in place on a chemical, a new producer or importer could start up without even letting EPA know; where EPA has issued a SNUR for a chemical, advance notification is required and EPA least has a chance to weigh in before production or import proceeds.)
Can’t require an up-front minimum data set for new chemicals? Recommend to companies that for certain chemicals they submit such a data set along with the pre-manufacturing notice (PMN) they’re required to file, or risk having EPA extend the review of their new chemical or negotiate with them to do the testing. EPA has made such “recommendations” for those relatively few new chemicals where the company “anticipates” at the outset producing it in large amounts in the first three years or where significant release or exposure is projected.
The latest such workaround? EPA’s simultaneous issuance of a proposed test rule and a proposed SNUR for a batch of high production volume (HPV) “orphan” chemicals that no company agreed to sponsor under the Agency’s voluntary HPV Challenge Program.
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and these creative new proposals are a case in point. But, my oh my, there’s gotta be a better way…. Read More