EDF Health

Selected tag(s): Unique identifiers

EPA still has a very long way to go on transparency under TSCA

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

EPA recently held a public meeting where it unveiled its first set of confidential business information (CBI) claim “determinations.”  These came three and half years after updates to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) required EPA to review CBI claims and publicly state the basis for its decision to approve or deny each claim.  EPA also recently finally started assigning “unique identifiers” to chemicals where it approves a claim to hide the chemical’s identity from the public.  These identifiers also come very late, having been called for starting immediately under the 2016 reforms to TSCA.

EPA also recently began posting to its ChemView database premanufacturing notices (PMNs) it receives on new chemicals, as well as some of the documents it generates when reviewing new chemicals (though these are exceedingly hard to find).

These and a few other modest recent improvements are certainly better late than never.  Their slowness in arriving, however, is a stark illustration of the far greater priority the Trump EPA has given to favoring the chemical industry’s interests over the public interest.

Moreover, EDF’s examination of these recent measures reveals both how far behind EPA still is in meeting TSCA’s mandates to provide chemical information to the public, and that EPA is failing to comply with a number of those mandates.

Last Friday EDF filed comments with EPA detailing both the shortcomings in what EPA has done and what it has failed to do.  We also provided a host of recommendations for improvements to the EPA websites and databases that are critical if they are to meet the public’s right to know about chemicals and EPA’s review of them under TSCA.  This post will summarize some of the key findings detailed in our comments.  Here is a list of topics covered in our comments and, more briefly, in this post:

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