EDF Health

Selected tag(s): Lautenberg Act

Correction: The Trump EPA’s first TSCA risk evaluation is a skyscraper of cards, not just a house

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

We blogged before the holiday break about how EPA used a single, unverified and conflicted estimate of worker exposure to build a whole house of cards and then used it to conclude that Pigment Violet 29 (or PV29) poses no risk to human health.

But upon further consideration, we need to issue a correction:  It’s not a house, it’s a veritable skyscraper of cards EPA has constructed.  That’s because EPA took its highly suspect worker exposure level and combined it with a hazard value EPA erroneously asserts demonstrates minimal hazard, in violation of its own and other authoritative guidance.   Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Regulation, TSCA Reform / Also tagged | Read 1 Response

The Trump EPA’s first risk evaluation under the new TSCA is a house of cards

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

I’ve been blogging about the deep problems surrounding the first draft risk evaluation the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released under the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This risk evaluation, which is now out for public comment, is on a chemical commonly called Pigment Violet 29, or PV29.  Among the many problems that immediately jumped out as we began our review of this draft evaluation are EPA’s reliance on clearly inadequate health and environmental hazard data to conclude the chemical is safe, as well as EPA’s illegal withholding from the public of the little hazard information it does have.

I suppose if you start with almost no reliable data on a chemical, are dead set against using your enhanced authorities to get any more data, and are hell-bent on finding the chemical is safe, this is how you might choose to conduct a risk evaluation.

This post will look at the other half of the risk equation, exposure.  EPA has even less information on exposures to PV29 than it does on hazard.  EPA has no actual data on the levels of PV29 released to or present in air, soil, sediment, surface water, people, other organisms, workplaces or products containing or made from the chemical.  It lacks any data from, and hasn’t used its authorities to require, monitoring in workplaces or any environmental media.

So what does EPA have?   Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Health Science, Industry Influence, Regulation, TSCA Reform / Also tagged | Comments are closed

Exhibit PV29: Why this EPA can’t be trusted to forthrightly assess chemical risks under TSCA

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

I blogged last week about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) illegal and hypocritical decision to deny the public access to health and safety studies conducted on the first chemical to undergo a risk evaluation under the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  In its draft risk evaluation, now out for public comment, EPA relied on these secret studies to assert that the chemical, commonly known as Pigment Violet 29, or PV29, is safe, so EPA’s denial of public access matters a great deal.

EPA asserts that these studies are entitled to protection as confidential business information (CBI) under TSCA, when in fact TSCA explicitly does not extend CBI protection to such studies.  The only health and environmental information on this chemical that is public are brief summaries of those studies that were prepared by the companies that make the chemical, and were submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) when the chemical was registered under the European Union’s REACH Regulation.  (EPA erroneously states that the studies were “summarized by ECHA.”  This is simply not the case:  Registrants, not ECHA, develop the summaries that are then made available in the registration “dossiers” for REACH chemicals.)

As we review EPA’s draft risk evaluation for PV29, we are finding that EPA’s assertions cannot be trusted even about what these summaries state are the findings of the underlying studies.  I’ll discuss one such case in this post.   Read More »

Posted in EPA, EU REACH, Health Policy, Health Science, TSCA Reform / Also tagged , | Comments are closed

The Trump EPA is poised to grant the chemical industry yet another of its wishes under TSCA

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

The chemical industry has long sought to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rubber-stamp as “safe” as many of its chemicals as possible without imposing any burden on the industry to develop the information needed to actually demonstrate safety.  It has repeatedly pushed for EPA to set aside large numbers of chemicals in commerce and ensure they don’t have to undergo evaluations of their potential or actual risk.

During the debate over reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), various industry associations advocated for an approach that would have required EPA to quickly review all chemicals in commerce using whatever information was available (which is virtually none for the great majority of such chemicals), and set aside as “low-priority” any that EPA could not demonstrate were harmful.

It appears EPA is trying to install a new parallel process, outside of TSCA’s statutory boundaries, that EPA will use to set aside thousands of chemicals from any further review indefinitely and with no recourse for the public.

When that didn’t fly (more on this below), industry commenters demanded that, in promulgating its Prioritization Rule, EPA designate long lists of chemicals as low-priority without any review.  One of the few positives of that final rule was that it rejected those calls as well.

But lest you think the issue is settled, think again.  Leave it to the Trump EPA to find an even more devious way of granting the industry’s wish.   Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform / Tagged | Read 1 Response

The TSCA new chemicals mess: A problem of the chemical industry’s own making

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

Nary a day goes by without a complaint being lodged by someone in the chemical industry, or in one of the myriad law firms that represent its interests in Washington, D.C., about the delays in EPA’s approval of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Here’s the irony:  Those delays and the general chaos in the TSCA new chemicals program are entirely of the industry’s own making.   Read More »

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, Industry Influence, TSCA Reform / Also tagged , | Comments are closed

What a new head of EPA’s TSCA office will face and need to do

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

News reports today indicate that the President is nominating Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, which implements the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Here is our first take on what she will be facing and need to do, if confirmed:

The major reforms Congress made to TSCA in 2016 passed with strong bipartisan support because they struck a careful balance among competing interests.  Since that time, however, every aspect of the law’s implementation by the Trump Administration has gone badly off the rails, skewed heavily in the chemical industry’s favor at the expense of the public’s health.

In EDF’s view, any credible nominee for the OCSPP Assistant Administrator needs to understand and acknowledge this stark imbalance and take steps to address it.  The AA should be able and willing to facilitate a fundamental shift in TSCA implementation back to a course that comports with the law, reflects strong science, and is protective of public and worker health, including that of vulnerable subpopulations.

If she is confirmed, Ms. Dunn will have her work cut out for her, given the forces arrayed within and outside the agency that have led to the current imbalance.  That is a challenge that will need to be faced head-on.

Posted in EPA, Health Policy, TSCA Reform / Tagged | Comments are closed