July 1, 2022

Environmentalist plaintiffs in a long-stalled suit seeking increased transparency in TSCA reviews of new chemicals are arguing that EPA’s motion to dismiss the case is invalid, as the agency has not yet produced an administrative record that could be vital to their eventual response to its arguments on the merits of their case.

EPA is facing dueling pressures as it seeks to regulate new chemicals’ “reasonably foreseen” uses under TSCA as industry officials say the agency is applying the standard far beyond what Congress intended, even as environmentalists say widespread per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination shows the dangers of a narrow approach.

June 30, 2022

A top TSCA official says EPA’s pending rule banning use of chrysotile asbestos is not “indicative” of how it will regulate other chemicals under the reformed toxics law and is telling stakeholders to look instead at upcoming rules that will target several solvents, starting with methylene chloride, as a better model for the future.

EPA has released a final scope for its “part 2” TSCA risk evaluation of asbestos, establishing a plan for examining risks from “legacy” uses of the material and fiber types other than the chrysotile variant that it considered during the Trump administration and which is winning immediate praise from environmentalists who favor a strict approach.

June 29, 2022

A chemical firm facing TSCA orders requiring it to conduct new toxicity tests on the substance o-dichlorobenzene (o-DCB) is arguing that EPA improperly ignored its decision to stop importing, manufacturing and processing the chemical altogether instead of shouldering the costs of an earlier round of test orders.

EPA chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff says the agency is poised to propose four of the 10 pending TSCA risk management rules in the coming months, starting with the solvent methylene chloride, but rules for the remaining five substances the law requires the agency to regulate could take years longer if Congress does not boost funding for the cash-strapped program.

June 28, 2022

EPA has finalized its revised TSCA risk determination for the cluster of flame retardant chemicals known as HBCD that abandons a Trump-era model of separate findings for each use of the substances and instead makes a first-time single determination for the “whole chemical,” rejecting industry arguments that its new approach is unlawful.

The House Appropriations Committee’s draft fiscal year 2023 EPA funding bill would grant the White House’s request to more than double funding for the TSCA office, setting the stage for negotiations with Senate Republicans who have remained quiet on the subject so far, while also pressing the agency to streamline key elements of the program.

June 27, 2022

EPA told a recent small business roundtable that it “anticipates” its pending TSCA asbestos reporting rule will affect just 18 companies and 27 sites -- most of them small businesses, given the proposal’s lack of exemptions for small entities -- while reiterating that the agency plans to finalize the rulemaking by early December.

EPA chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff told the Senate environment panel’s top Republican at a recent hearing that the TSCA office could adopt its own definition of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) -- a view already sparking concern from environmentalists who say doing so would cause confusion at the agency and states alike.

June 24, 2022

EPA is launching a sweeping effort to educate companies on how it reviews new chemicals under TSCA and the specific types of data it needs for that process, in hopes of reducing the program’s chronic delays by cutting the “rework” required when firms either submit incomplete applications or send new information late in a review cycle.

EPA is asking a federal court to dismiss environmentalists’ suit challenging its nominal grant of their TSCA petition seeking toxicity tests on 54 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that sidestepped most of the new testing the groups sought, saying the law does not allow suits to force a “specific result” from the petition process.

June 23, 2022

The Vinyl Institute (VI) plans to ask a federal appeals court to set a high bar for EPA to justify mandating live-animal tests of toxic chemicals as part of its novel challenge to a TSCA test order, setting up what would be the first court precedent on the legal effect of statutory provisions that direct the agency to minimize vertebrate testing.

Scientists and fellows in EPA’s computational toxicology research center say their work on “non-targeted” chemical analysis tools is reaching a point where it can quickly identify unknown chemicals in the environment, saying the novel methods could aid agencies’ reactions to emergencies like chemical spills, oil spills or even terror attacks.

June 22, 2022

EPA’s just-released regulatory agenda shows it is preparing a series of TSCA rules to block new or resumed uses of chemicals it has designated as “high priority” and scoped for evaluation under the reformed toxics law, as well as several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), alongside delays to a host of other high-profile rules.

EPA chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff agreed with Senate Republicans at a TSCA oversight hearing that the agency needs to “do better” on new chemical reviews and vowed to reform the delay-plagued process, opening a potential path on officials’ bid for a drastic funding boost at the toxics office that industry says must come with internal reforms.

June 21, 2022

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is pressing chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff for a “comprehensive plan” to address delays in new-chemical reviews on the eve of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s (EPW) first TSCA oversight hearing of the year, signaling a likely priority for the panel’s GOP members.

Environmentalists are pushing EPA to tighten its new draft risk assessment of formaldehyde by setting a cancer estimate based at least in part on the ubiquitous chemical’s links to leukemia, rejecting agency arguments that while such a link exists, the studies establishing it are too uncertain to use in an Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) review.

June 17, 2022

A Louisiana chemical manufacturer is again demanding that EPA ease its risk assessment for the synthetic rubber component chloroprene, months after the agency rejected another petition from the same firm, and just days after acting air chief Joe Goffman pledged to use the contested assessment in a review of air toxics rules for the chemical.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is pushing EPA to forcibly pull from the market a group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that previously won low volume exemptions (LVEs) from TSCA review, saying that the agency’s call for companies to voluntarily withdraw these chemicals has failed thus far.


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