EDF Health

Selected tag(s): High Production Volume (HPV)

ECHA adds seven more Substances of Very High Concern to REACH Candidate List

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

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) issued a press release on Tuesday announcing the addition of seven chemicals to the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) under the European Union’s REACH Regulation.  [Update 6/20/11:  The formal addition of these substances to the candidate list, the initial announcement of which this post addressed, happened today.  See ECHA’s press release, which also contains some additional information about the uses of these chemicals.  The full candidate list including these seven substances is available here.]

All of the chemicals are officially classified as Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Reproductive toxicants (CMRs).  Their addition brings the total number of chemicals on the Candidate List to 53.  Adding a chemical to REACH’s Candidate List is the first step toward subjecting it to REACH’s Authorization process, whereby the chemical can be used only if specifically authorized by EU authorities.

In this brief post we present a bit more information on these latest seven SVHCs, including the extent of their presence in U.S. commerce and their main uses.  Read More »

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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 »

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A near-sisyphusian task: EPA soldiers on to require more testing under TSCA

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

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday that it has finalized a rule requiring testing [UPDATE 1/7/11:  The published rule is available here] to determine basic health and environmental effects for 19 high production volume (HPV) chemicals.  While I welcome this as well as any other effort to close the huge safety data gaps that exist even for the most widely used chemicals, the back story behind this rule reveals why it is actually a perfect poster child for what’s wrong with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

For starters, consider that it took EPA two and a half years to move the rule from the proposed stage to finalization.  And that doesn’t count the several preceding years EPA had to spend developing information sufficient to make the findings it has to make to justify proposing a test rule.

Then consider that the rule addresses only 19 of the many hundreds of HPV chemicals on the market today for which even the most basic, “screening level” hazard data are not publicly available.

And it gets worse.  Read More »

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Data and safety requirements for new chemicals: China blows past the US

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

In yesterday’s post, I pointed to a number of ways in which China is taking a proactive stance on chemical safety.  I cited China because the U.S. chemical industry, when saber-rattling about what it regards as overly onerous proposals for TSCA reform, loves to chide all of us that those proposals will drive chemical production overseas to China and that innovation of new chemicals will still happen, only it will happen in China instead of the U.S.

I mentioned yesterday that China is in the process of enhancing its regulatory requirements, including making them more like the European Union’s REACH Regulation.  Well, a great article detailing China’s new requirements for new chemicals was published yesterday by Geraint Roberts in Chemical Watch’s Monthly Briefing for November (subscription required).

Those requirements – which actually took effect October 15 – include the very same elements the U.S. industry has been warning would send chemical production and innovation running to China if they were to be adopted in the U.S., including:

  • registration as well as notification requirements for all new chemicals, whatever their production volume;
  • a minimum data set, which increases with production volume;
  • a requirement for re-notification whenever production volume increases significantly or the uses of a chemical change or expand; and
  • risk assessments for all new chemicals produced or imported above one metric ton per year.

Next up for the Chinese?  Similar requirements for existing chemicals, according to the article.

So much for the chemical industry’s hand-wringing about us losing out to China. When it comes to raising the bar for chemical safety, it appears the U.S. is increasingly the odd one out.

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EPA seeks to improve TSCA data reporting; a real litmus test looms for the chemical industry

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

While I was on vacation last week, EPA’s proposed rule to improve chemical information reporting under its so-called Inventory Update Rule (IUR) was finally published in the Federal Register.  (I say “finally” because the proposal languished for almost 6 months over at OMB, nearly double the 90 days such mandatory reviews are supposed to take.  That unfortunate delay is curious given the relatively modest changes that appear to have been made by OMB – mostly limited to compelling EPA to shift a few elements from proposals to options open to comment, and requiring EPA to expand the range of issues on which it now seeks comment.)

I won’t summarize the EPA proposals here; EPA’s factsheet does a good job of that, and Daniel Rosenberg at NRDC has also nicely recapped the proposal on his blog.  Suffice it to say that the proposed changes would go far to address the many failings of the current IUR, which amply manifested themselves in the last reporting cycle and severely hampered EPA’s ability to assess high production volume (HPV) chemicals under its ill-fated ChAMP Initiative.

So how will the chemical industry react?  Here’s why I’ll be watching intently.  Read More »

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Raising the bar for chemical safety will spur, not stifle, innovation

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

An emerging chemical industry talking point in TSCA reform is the claim that imposing new requirements on new chemicals will somehow stifle innovation.  The milder manifestation of this perspective emanates from those who oppose requiring a safety determination for new chemicals unless they raise major red flags in an initial review.

But some in the industry go further, arguing that even requiring safety data for new chemicals would put the big chill on development of new chemicals.

I beg to differ with both arguments.  This post will make the opposite case, and will also argue that true innovation embraces rather than shuns safety, and demands the information needed to demonstrate it. Read More »

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