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:
- 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
- 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