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  • Sen. Lautenberg reintroduced his Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 – same as his last one – to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.

  • New bills on TSCA reform are due in 2013 – Sen. Lautenberg reintroducing his Safe Chemicals Act and Sen. Vitter is expected to introduce a paired down version of TSCA revisions. Given the major pressures on Congress – fiscal mess, immigration, gun control, etc. and the Republican House – it’s not clear anything will pass this year, but there should be more to chew on. The problem is everyone wants some thing different in “modernization” of TSCA: make it easier for EPA to issue regulations, but not too easy and convince the public chemicals are safe – whatever that means.

  • The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health voice voted (10 to 8) to send the latest version of the Senate Bill 847, Lautenberg’s “Safe Chemicals Act” for floor vote. Republicans are not happy and feel they’ve been locked out, but haven’t offered counter-language so the Dems are blowing them off. Interestingly, Jim Jones, the EPA AA on TSCA, declined to state a position on the bill. The likelihood of anything coming out of this Congress is slim to none.

  • Canada periodically puts out mandatory survey on batches of chemicals as it works through its prioritization process. For example in June there were 8 MDA/MDI chemicals of interest. It’s a pretty comprehensive set of information demanded of manufacturers, importers and processors: volumes, uses available toxicity information and a list of the top 20 customers. With the possible exception of getting customer lists, such information can be obtained under TSCA section 8 – basically CDR + 8(d) – applied to manufacturers, importers and processors.

  • Note the federal government new hires to write and support new regulations in the last year and a half. Unfortunately, notice how all the states have to implement these new regulations and the thousands of companies who have to comply aren’t keeping up. Maybe because the latter aren’t able to print money to hire new people (or consultants). They have to reallocate resources to meet these new requirements. Hopefully, employees and dollars are being pulled from less beneficial activities…..

  • As follow on to its Chemical Action Plan on Bisphenol A (BPA), EPA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking July 26, 2011, to develop environmental effects and exposure testing. EPA is not addressing human health effects in this notice as there is ongoing testing work already with other agencies. (See a pointed Trevor Butterworth blog about that work here.)

  • EPA revealed another set of chemical identities in health and safety studies June 8, 2011, here. I think most of them were “voluntary” by companies, but EPA is claiming some were not.
    Protect what is legitimate and be ready to back up your claim. Provide meaningful generic names. Let it go if you can protect your trade secrets by protecting your company name or if historical information is no longer trade secret. Quit jeopardizing the ability to protect real trade secrets by being lazy and claiming everything confidential.

  • Sen. Lautenberg released the 2011 version of the Safe Chemicals Act for TSCA Reform April 14 here. I’ve blogged about it before and posted a summary pdf here.

    The notable changes I see from last year’s version:

    – References to mixtures and articles have been deleted here and there. No PMNs by new mixture makers. But mixture and article makers with new uses of “existing” chemicals will still have to submit essentially SNUNs (with minimum data set updates) or proof that the use meets the safety standard (if there is one). Mixture and article makers are still “processors” under SCA, so there still needs to be clarification in the bill. Oddly, the new bill drops allegations of adverse effects and information on substantial risk (old 8(c) and (e)) on mixtures.

  • EPA declassified confidentiality claims in a batch of 42 health and safety studies (mostly 8(e) notices of substantial risk) March 24, 2011, following through on their promise of transparency.
    Certainly there are some old claims out there that are no longer valid (many on what was at the time R&D activity that has either gone commercial or died). And some claims were pretty bogus to begin with. But the idea of going back and having to re-substantiate the thousands of claims that have been made over the last 35 years – holy cow! Believe it or not, some of the claims will still be valid (just like the secret ingredients of Coke).

  • Proposed bills to reform TSCA have argued to put the burden on chemical manufacturers to prove that there is “reasonable certainty that the substances pose no harm.”
    But what does this mean, particularly in light of recent EPA positions on dioxin risk and endocrine disruptor tiered screening? [Covered in Feb 23, 2011, InsideEPA.com’s Toxics Regulation News]

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