Selected category: Health Policy

Known knowns and known unknowns: Getting an accurate, transparent and up-to-date TSCA chemical inventory

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

A major reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) made by last year’s Lautenberg Act was to set in motion a process to ensure that EPA (and the public, to the maximum extent practicable) know how many and which chemicals are actually in use today, and to ensure that the identities of any active chemicals that are not publicly disclosed constitute actual trade secrets.

In January, EPA took its first step to implement this reform by issuing its proposed rule for Inventory notification.  The public comment period on this proposed rule closed recently.  EDF submitted extensive comments, which are available here.

The Inventory notification requirements of TSCA as amended by the Lautenberg Act, specified under sections 8(b)(4)(A)(i) and 8(b)(4)(B)(ii), have two interlocked purposes:

  1. to ensure EPA has a full and current list of all chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory that are actively being made and processed – paramount to many other aspects of the law, especially the prioritization and risk evaluation provisions of section 6 and, more generally, in providing an up-to-date understanding of the magnitude of chemical production and use within the scope of TSCA relevant to long-term planning and resource allocation; and
  2. to ensure that the only active chemicals not identified by name on the Inventory are those whose identities are actual trade secrets, by requiring reassertion, substantiation and EPA review of any prior confidential business information (CBI) claims a company has made and seeks to retain to protect its chemicals’ identities from public disclosure on the updated Inventory.

Many of EDF’s comments are aimed at ensuring that EPA’s proposed rule serves both purposes and is fully in compliance with the law.  In contrast, many comments received from industry interests would pit the first objective against the second and do so in ways that would not comply with what the law requires.   Read More »

Also posted in TSCA Reform| Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Getting the framework right for the new TSCA: EDF comments filed on key EPA proposed rules

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.  Lindsay McCormick is a Project Manager.  Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) filed extensive comments yesterday on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposals for the two most central “framework” rules mandated by last year’s Lautenberg Act amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Our comments address these proposed rules:

Both sets of comments address many different provisions of the proposed rules.  EDF indicated our strong support for many aspects of the proposals, but urged changes to a number of provisions that we cannot support as proposed.  In addition, we identified provisions we believe need to be added to EPA’s rules to be consistent with or meet the requirements of the Lautenberg Act.

EDF emphasized how vital it is for EPA to meet its June 22, 2017, statutory deadline for promulgating these rules.  Because they establish processes that will require several years to begin to yield decisions on specific chemicals, delays in promulgating them in final form so that the processes can commence in the timeframe Congress intended will only serve to undermine public confidence in the new law, counter business interests to restore confidence in the chemicals marketplace, and hamper EPA’s ability to carry out its new mandates.  This is especially the case, given EPA’s appropriate recognition in both proposed rules that it will need to initiate measures as soon as possible to ensure that sufficient information will be available to inform prioritization and risk evaluation decisions.

As discussed in more detail in the comments, EDF strongly supports EPA’s decision not to codify specific scientific policies, procedures and guidance in these rules.  To do so would not be consistent with the law and would more generally represent bad policy.  EDF also agreed with EPA’s proposal not to define in its rules complex, science policy-laden terms such as “weight of the scientific evidence,” “best available science,” and “unreasonable risk.”  These concepts are best elaborated on in guidance and policy statements and best understood in the context of specific decisions on chemical substances.

Some other highlights from each set of EDF’s comments follow.   Read More »

Also posted in EPA, Regulation, TSCA Reform| Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Report: Grading the nation on lead pipe disclosure policies

Lindsay McCormick is a Project Manager.  

When purchasing a home, buyers expect to be informed about deficiencies, defects, or environmental hazards on the property. Since 1996, there have been federal policies to alert buyers about lead in paint. However, the likelihood that a buyer will be told their prospective home has lead pipes, including a lead service line, depends on the state in which they live.

Lead service lines (LSLs) – the lead pipes connecting water mains under the street to homes and other buildings – are the primary source of lead in drinking water. Up to 10 million homes across the nation continue to receive water through LSLs, putting millions at risk of lead exposure. Homebuyers deserve to know about this liability when they choose a home and negotiate a price. When done properly, removing the full LSL significantly reduces the risk of lead exposure.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) analyzed and graded the housing disclosure policies of all U.S. states and the District of Columbia according to their ability to help homebuyers make informed decisions about LSLs before they sign a sales contract by assessing state disclosure laws, required disclosure forms, and voluntary disclosure forms.  We did not address the extent to which LSLs are actively being disclosed under each policy. Read More »

Also posted in Drinking Water, lead, States| Tagged , | Comments are closed

Congress just fixed TSCA – yet is now gearing up to re-impose the worst flaws of the old law across the entire Federal government

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

I noted in a recent post EDF’s grave concerns about the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), which passed the House on January 11.  A shorter but still very concerning version of it may soon be introduced in the Senate, modeled on last Congress’ Senate version of RAA.  This bill would add dozens of burdensome and time-consuming hurdles to the rulemaking process, effectively crippling it and eliminating the health and safety protections rules are intended to provide.  To get a feel for all of the requirements, see this dizzying RAA flow chart.

Among other things, the RAA would mandate multiple rounds of cost and impact analysis of a potentially unlimited number of regulatory alternatives; require that all major rules go through an entirely new pre-proposal step, adding months if not longer to the rulemaking process; generally require that agencies choose the lowest-cost regulatory option, regardless of whether or not it is the best option or even sufficient to meet a law’s requirements; and require lengthy and resource-intensive public hearings on many rules.  To top all this off, the bill would require an agency to finalize a proposed rule within 2 years (subject to a 1-year extension) – a timeframe almost impossible to meet now without all of the additional requirements the Act would impose; if that deadline was not met, the agency would have to start over.

There is extreme irony in the advancement of the RAA in this Congress:  Just last June, both houses of Congress passed – with overwhelming bipartisan support – major reforms to the obsolete Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The Lautenberg Act removed from the original TSCA several major constraints on the rulemaking process that had so tied the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it could not even restrict asbestos, a known carcinogen that kills more than 10,000 Americans every year.  There was widespread agreement among industry and other stakeholders that those provisions of the old TSCA were detrimental or unnecessary to an efficient regulatory system and were undermining public and market confidence in the federal chemical safety system – not to mention failing to protect public health.

So here’s the irony:  The RAA would impose those same knot-tying strictures that the Lautenberg Act just got rid of – and expand them to rulemakings undertaken by any federal agency.  Let’s look at some of these crippling requirements, based on last Congress’s Senate version of the RAA:   Read More »

Also posted in EPA, TSCA Reform| Tagged , | Comments are closed

Dad’s lead-laden hair dye could impact the whole family: FDA to consider barring lead compound in widely-used men’s hair dyes

Jack Pratt is Chemicals Campaign Director

Today, EDF joined a group of advocates in filing a petition that could force a ban on lead in hair dyes. Over the last several decades, we have gone to great lengths to reduce lead exposure—from eliminating the use of lead in gasoline, to tackling legacy uses in paint and water pipes. Yet, somewhat incredibly, lead is still permitted in hair dyes in the United States. Unfortunately, the evidence indicates that use can have an impact not only on the men who use it (it is seemingly exclusive to men’s dyes) but can have an impact on kids in the house too. That’s why FDA should take action and reverse their decades-old approval of lead in hair dyes.

Read More »

Also posted in FDA, lead, Regulation, Uncategorized| Tagged , | Comments are closed

A Toxic Scavenger Hunt: Finding the First 10 Lautenberg Act Chemicals

Jack Pratt is Chemicals Campaign Director

Recently, EPA identified the first 10 chemicals for evaluation under our country’s newly reformed chemical safety law. That motivated me to see how easy it would be to find these chemicals in consumer products. The answer: very easy. In fact, while you’ve probably not heard of many of these chemicals, the products that contain them are likely all too familiar.

Read More »

Also posted in TSCA Reform, Uncategorized| Comments are closed
  • About this blog

    Science, health, and business experts at Environmental Defense Fund comment on chemical and nanotechnology issues of the day.
    Our work: Chemicals

  • Stay Updated

    Get blog posts and breaking news to your email inbox.

  • Filter posts by tags

    • aggregate exposure (10)
    • Alternatives assessment (3)
    • American Chemistry Council (ACC) (57)
    • Ami Zota (1)
    • asthma (4)
    • Australia (1)
    • baby food (1)
    • Behind the Label (1)
    • biomonitoring (9)
    • bipartisan (6)
    • bisphenol A (23)
    • Bleach (1)
    • bologna (1)
    • BP Oil Disaster (18)
    • Brain Development (1)
    • building code (1)
    • building code official (1)
    • California (2)
    • Canada (7)
    • carbon nanotubes (24)
    • carcinogen (22)
    • Carcinogenic Mutagenic or Toxic for Reproduction (CMR) (12)
    • CDC (8)
    • Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP) (13)
    • chemical exposure (2)
    • chemical identity (32)
    • chemical testing (4)
    • Chemicals in Commerce Act (3)
    • Chicago Tribune (6)
    • Children's health (2)
    • children's safety (24)
    • China (10)
    • chlorate (1)
    • Cincinnati (1)
    • citizens petition (2)
    • Cleveland (1)
    • Clinton (1)
    • computational toxicology (11)
    • Confidential Business Information (CBI) (61)
    • conflict of interest (8)
    • Congress (1)
    • Congressman Israel (1)
    • consumer products (52)
    • Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) (4)
    • contamination (4)
    • cumulative exposure (4)
    • data requirements (47)
    • degradation (1)
    • DEHP (1)
    • dermal exposure (1)
    • Design for Environment (1)
    • development (2)
    • developmental (1)
    • disclosure (3)
    • Drinking Water (11)
    • dry food (1)
    • DuPont (11)
    • Durbin (1)
    • dust (1)
    • endocrine (2)
    • endocrine disruption (31)
    • environmental justice (1)
    • EPA (9)
    • exposure and hazard (49)
    • fast food (1)
    • FDA (18)
    • fees (1)
    • Firemaster (2)
    • flame retardants (25)
    • Flint (1)
    • Food (1)
    • food additive (3)
    • food additive petition (2)
    • food additives (2)
    • food contact substances (1)
    • formaldehyde (15)
    • fragrances (1)
    • front group (13)
    • GAO (1)
    • general interest (22)
    • Generally Recognizes as Safe (1)
    • George Washington University (1)
    • Globally Harmonized System (GHS) (5)
    • Government Accountability Office (5)
    • GRAS (3)
    • haz (1)
    • hazard (6)
    • health-based benchmark (2)
    • High Production Volume (HPV) (23)
    • home buyers (1)
    • home sales (1)
    • Household action level (3)
    • HUD (2)
    • hypochlorite (2)
    • ICC (1)
    • in vitro (14)
    • in vivo (11)
    • industry tactics (44)
    • Infants (1)
    • informed substitution (1)
    • inhalation (18)
    • International Code Council (1)
    • IUR/CDR (27)
    • Japan (3)
    • Lautenberg Act (60)
    • lead (23)
    • lead and copper rule (4)
    • lead dust hazard (2)
    • Lead Dust Standards (1)
    • Lead Exposure (6)
    • lead hazard (1)
    • Lead in Drinking Water (2)
    • Lead Service Line (4)
    • lead-based paint (4)
    • Lead-safe (1)
    • lead-safe renovator (1)
    • LSHR (1)
    • Mapping (1)
    • markets (1)
    • Markey (1)
    • MCHM (1)
    • mercury (4)
    • methylene chloride (1)
    • methylmercury (2)
    • Milken Institute School of Public Health (1)
    • model (1)
    • nanodelay (4)
    • nanosilver (6)
    • National Academy of Sciences (NAS) (20)
    • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (7)
    • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (5)
    • National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) (7)
    • National Toxicology Program (1)
    • NCHH (1)
    • NDWA (1)
    • NDWAC (2)
    • New chemicals (8)
    • NHANES (1)
    • Nitrates (1)
    • NMP (1)
    • Obama (1)
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (3)
    • Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) (4)
    • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (16)
    • Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) (3)
    • Ohio (1)
    • oil dispersant (18)
    • ortho-phthalate (1)
    • ortho-phthalates (1)
    • packaging (1)
    • paint (2)
    • PBDEs (19)
    • perchlorate (4)
    • Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) (22)
    • personal care products (1)
    • pesticide (1)
    • pesticides (7)
    • PFOA (1)
    • phthalate (1)
    • phthalates (20)
    • pipes (1)
    • plastic packaging (1)
    • prenatal (6)
    • prioritization (38)
    • Public Water Supplier (1)
    • PWS Water Board (1)
    • Quigley (1)
    • real estate (1)
    • Redfin (1)
    • Reference Dose (1)
    • Regulatory Accountability Act (1)
    • renovation (1)
    • rental (1)
    • renters (1)
    • report on carcinogens (1)
    • reproductive (2)
    • residential code (1)
    • revised CSIA (4)
    • rice cereal (1)
    • right-to-know (1)
    • risk assessment (72)
    • risk evaluation (2)
    • RRP (1)
    • Safe Chemicals Act (24)
    • Safer Chemicals Healthy Families (33)
    • safety (2)
    • salami (1)
    • SB 1398 (1)
    • Science Advisory Board (1)
    • SDWA (1)
    • secrecy (1)
    • Sierra Club (1)
    • Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) (21)
    • Small business (1)
    • snur (1)
    • soil (1)
    • soil lead hazard (1)
    • South Korea (4)
    • State Senator Levya (1)
    • styrene (6)
    • Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) (15)
    • systematic review (1)
    • TBB (2)
    • test rule (18)
    • Thiocyanate (1)
    • Toddlers (1)
    • total diet study (1)
    • ToxCast (10)
    • toxic substances control act (1)
    • Transparency (2)
    • trichloroethylene (TCE) (9)
    • TSCA inventory (2)
    • TSCA Modernization Act (14)
    • TSCA Reform (1)
    • TSCA Title IV (1)
    • Turkey (3)
    • U.S. states (17)
    • User Service Line (1)
    • Voluntary (1)
    • Walmart (3)
    • Washington Post (1)
    • worker safety (23)
    • wristband (2)
    • WV chemical spill (12)
    • Zillow (1)