January 21, 2022

EPA has released for peer review and public comment a draft “version 1.0” of its TSCA screening approach for considering risks that chemicals pose to fenceline communities, including early “case studies” applying the method to three already-evaluated chemicals that finds additional risks from air and water exposures, particularly to workers.

EPA’s chemicals office is launching an effort to “streamline” TSCA reviews of new chemicals used in biofuels, including by crafting consolidated risk assessments for those substances -- a move it says will facilitate the goals of both the air program’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) and the Biden administration’s overall climate change agenda.

January 20, 2022

A consultant-led survey of employees at EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) shows low morale and interoffice tension driven in part by continuing divisions over some staffers’ claims of science integrity violations in TSCA new-chemicals reviews, including claims of “harassment” and “public humiliation.”

Dozens of environmental groups are asking a federal district court to scrap EPA’s application of two controversial reporting exemptions for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), arguing that they violate both the program’s authorizing statute and the defense authorization law that mandated PFAS listings.

January 19, 2022

EPA plans to revise its Trump-era TSCA risk determinations for chrysotile asbestos after completing a broader “part two” evaluation of legacy uses and other fiber types not expected until 2024, raising questions over the agency’s regulatory path for the chemical as it has already written a draft risk management rule based on the “part one” findings.

The federal district judge overseeing litigation over environmentalists’ novel TSCA petitions seeking a ban on drinking water fluoridation is extending his stay of the case until at least June 7, saying he will await both EPA’s response to plaintiffs’ planned “supplemental” petition and a National Toxicology Program (NTP) report before acting.

January 18, 2022

The former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) says emerging toxicity tests show similar health risks from “legacy” per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their newer replacements -- which she called a strong reason for EPA to regulate the chemicals as a class rather than one by one.

A former Trump EPA official is urging industry to ensure EPA does not use its “whole chemical” approach to risk determinations to justify overly broad TSCA regulations, noting the agency appears to have quietly dropped from its agenda plans for a “framework” rule on writing those risk management rules for individual chemicals.

January 14, 2022

Industry attorneys say EPA’s “whole chemical” approach to TSCA risk determinations -- and officials’ decision to make the change without a notice-and-comment rulemaking -- is on shaky legal ground due in part to a 2019 Supreme Court decision narrowing deference to agencies’ interpretations of their own rules and could soon face multiple court challenges.

The former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) says EPA’s lack of a consistent definition for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is already frustrating its efforts to address them, including in the agency’s controversial response to a TSCA petition seeking toxicity tests on 54 of the chemicals.

January 13, 2022

Industry attorneys are warning that EPA’s “whole chemical” approach to TSCA risk determinations will effectively negate the law’s preemption of state limits on chemical uses the agency finds to be safe, as the Biden administration’s first proposed use of its new model avoids the “no unreasonable risk” orders needed to trigger preemption.

January 12, 2022

A House subcommittee chairman is citing EPA’s pending TSCA evaluations and a raft of recent studies finding reproductive and developmental harms from phthalates, the chemicals widely used in plastics and other products, to urge strict regulations on the substance in consumer goods.

Chemical and other industry groups are ramping up pressure on EPA to ensure its imminent draft IRIS assessment of formaldehyde addresses the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) many recommendations on the issue since 2011 -- even as officials face a tight schedule to complete the review in time to inform a pending TSCA evaluation due in 2023.

January 11, 2022

A green chemistry researcher and strategist who heads up the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) of industry and citizen groups says he expects future adoption of safer substitutes in the United States to be largely voluntary, as the revised TSCA is ill-suited for more than “incremental” change through regulation.

Chemical-sector groups are arguing in new comments that EPA’s proposal to authorize future TSCA chemical toxicity test orders is “deficient,” charging that the agency undercounts the costs of performing mandatory tests, ignores statutory language on reducing animal testing and fails to support industry consortia, among other flaws.

January 10, 2022

Opponents of drinking water fluoridation plan to file a third, “supplemental” TSCA petition with EPA seeking a ban on the practice as soon as March, when they expect the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to release a new report on the chemical’s neurotoxicity, according to a new filing in their long-delayed suit over the agency’s denials of two prior petitions.

Two EPA veterans say they see little chance that the toxics office will overcome staffing, funding and morale issues to meet a slate of looming TSCA deadlines without a budget boost or other outside aid, after officials have raised several recent warnings that those long-running concerns remain major threats to implementation of the law.

January 7, 2022

Environmentalists are urging EPA to apply its new, more-stringent TSCA policies for per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) and personal protective equipment (PPE) to pending significant new use rules (SNURs), arguing that a recent round of proposed rules appears based entirely on past administrations’ approaches.

A former Trump toxics official is questioning EPA’s defense of its broad new “whole chemical” approach to TSCA risk determinations, renewing arguments that the policy conflicts with the “framework” rule setting procedures for chemical evaluations and warning that the agency will be “on thin ice” in litigation that could come quickly after it finalizes the findings.

January 6, 2022

New York’s just-enacted law banning organohalogen flame retardants (OFRs) in many products violates TSCA’s preemption provisions because it covers a chemical that EPA is currently evaluating, setting up what would be the first test of those elements in the reformed law, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).


Not a subscriber? Sign up for 30 days free access to exclusive environmental policy reporting.