Selected tags: chemical identity

New Ways in the Ancient World: Japan and China advance their chemicals policies

Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.

This isn’t the first time on this blog that we’ve observed that chemicals reform is popping up all over the world.  Whatever their strengths and shortcomings, the 1999 amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the European Union’s REACH Regulation got the ball rolling.  The momentum of chemicals reform is reaching around the globe as governments pay more attention to the risks posed by chemicals.  In this post, we will focus on recent developments in Japan and China.

Japan and China are two of the U.S.’s top competitors, so it’s noteworthy that they have not allowed themselves to fall behind in chemicals management.  Why are they expanding their chemicals regulations?  Do they know something we don’t?  Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, International| Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Avoiding paralysis by analysis: EPA proposes a sensible approach to identifying chemicals of concern

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.  Thanks to my colleagues Jennifer McPartland and Allison Tracy for their analysis of the EPA proposal discussed in this post.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held stakeholder meetings to get public input into the criteria it will use to identify additional chemicals of concern beyond the 11 chemicals or chemical classes it has already identified.  EPA used these meetings (as well as an online forum open until September 14) as an opportunity for the public to respond to a “discussion guide” it issued in August that sets forth draft criteria and identifies data sources it intends to use to look for chemicals that meet the criteria.

The day before the EPA meetings, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued its own “prioritization tool” which lays out its own criteria and ranking system for identifying chemicals of concern.  This post will make a few observations about EPA’s proposal.  My next post will provide a critique of ACC’s proposed tool.

EDF and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition strongly support EPA in this endeavor – both for what it is, and for what it is not.    Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Regulation| Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

TSCA reform 2.0, aka, Safe Chemicals Act of 2011: Tastes great, less filling

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

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 was introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senator Frank Lautenberg and is co-sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar, Charles Schumer, and Barbara Boxer.

In the TSCA reform debate, some things haven’t changed from last year:  TSCA is just as badly in need of an overhaul, and consumers and the chemical industry’s customers have no more confidence in the safety of chemicals in use today than they did a year ago.  States, other countries and the marketplace all continue to act to advance modern chemical safety policies and practices.  We in the advocacy community are still waiting for the chemical industry to offer some of its own proposals for reform – though some individual companies and product associations have been more forthcoming.

In contrast, the 2011 version of the Safe Chemicals Act has changed in some important ways – and for the better.  It includes a number of improvements over last year’s version that would both boost health protections and ease implementation and workability.

[Updated 5-9-11:  Here's a side-by-side comparing the 2011 version to the 2010 version of the Act.]  Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

A sea of red herrings is behind opposition to EPA’s proposal to enhance chemical reporting

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist. Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.

With the chemical industry and now Congressional Republicans mounting a last-minute effort to derail the EPA’s long-time-in-coming enhancements to its Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule (see our last post), it’s worth examining their main objections.  That examination reveals a sea of red herrings.  Here are a few of the smelliest ones, discussed in detail in this post:

Red herring #1:  EPA has failed to indicate how it will use the information it collects.

Red herring #2:  Small businesses would be excessively burdened.

Red herring #3:  More frequent reporting is a “needless” burden on the industry.

Red herring #4:  EPA is expanding the IUR from data reporting to data-gathering.

Red herring #5:  EPA’s requirement for retroactive reporting is unfair.

Red herring #6:  Requiring electronic reporting is too inflexible.

Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Regulation| Also tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

EPA's right-to-know effort declassifies the chemicals in 42 health and safety studies

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

EPA has just released today the full versions — showing the identities of the chemicals in question — of 41 "substantial risk" notices of health and safety studies it had previously received from companies that had denied the public's right to know those identities by claiming them to be confidential business information (CBI).  These notices had been submitted pursuant to Section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  One additional notice of a health and safety study that EPA had received under Section 8(d) of TSCA was also released today with its chemical identified.

What's most significant about today's posting is that it makes publicly available the identities of chemicals associated with health and safety data that:

  1. the submitting companies themselves believed the data “reasonably supports the conclusion that [the chemical] presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment;” and
  2. should have been publicly available all along, based on the plain language of TSCA that disallows health and safety studies to be claimed CBI in the first place.

Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Regulation| Also tagged , , | 2 Responses, comments now closed

EPA’s TSCA CBI policy change yields first increment in restoring public’s chemical right-to-know

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

The number 14 is getting to be kind of a magic number when it comes to EPA policy and practice relating to confidential business information (CBI) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

I reported earlier that it had been longstanding EPA practice to allow the vast majority of CBI claims made for data submitted by industry under TSCA to stand indefinitely without any review.  In fact, EPA reported in 2005 that it reviewed an average of only 14 – yes, that’s 14 – CBI claims per year out of the thousands of such claims asserted.

But today the number 14 took on a more positive, if still a bit faint, tint:  That’s the number of chemicals the identities of which EPA announced it will soon reveal in association with data it has received that “reasonably supports the conclusion that [the chemical] presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment.” While we’ll have to wait another month, and possibly more, to see the chemicals and their associated risk data, these chemicals represent the first installment in what I hope will become a steady flow arising from EPA’s new policy to review, challenge and likely deny CBI claims that seek to mask the names of chemicals that are the subjects of health and safety studies required to be submitted to the Agency. Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Regulation| Also tagged , | Comments closed
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