Editor's Note: Due to the holiday, the next Week Ahead will be published on July 11.

TSCA Week Ahead

The Week Ahead

GlobalChem Kicks Off With TSCA Sessions; EPA Weighs PFHxA Comments

April 4, 2022

The chemical industry’s annual GlobalChem conference opens this week, including virtual panels on EPA’s regulation of new and existing chemicals under TSCA as well as its data-gathering program. Comments are arriving on the agency’s latest toxicity assessment of a per- and polyfluorakyl substance (PFAS), for the chemical known as PFHxA.

GlobalChem

The chemical industry’s annual GlobalChem conference kicks off April 5 with an online pre-conference workshop on various aspects of EPA’s implementation of the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), including advice on submitting new chemical applications for review; the agency’s use of its data-gathering authority including the power to order new toxicity tests of existing chemicals; and “challenges and opportunities” related to trade secret information.

Background Reading: EPA Issues New TSCA Test Orders Targeting Eight ‘High-Priority’ Chemicals

PFAS

April 4 marks the comment deadline for the draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of PFHxA, one of a handful of PFAS that program is reviewing as part EPA’s roadmap for addressing perfluorinated chemicals. But recently disclosed inter-agency comments show that other agencies have questioned EPA’s decision to rely on animal toxicology data instead of human epidemiology in its analysis.

Also on April 4, North Carolina’s Science Advisory Board will hold its latest in a series of meetings on PFAS issues in the state, with an agenda focused on how to calculate their reference doses -- daily exposure levels seen as unlikely to cause harm over the long term.

Finally, on April 8 the American Bar Association will host a panel discussion on EPA’s regulatory agenda for PFAS, moderated by the agency’s Trump-era chemicals chief Alexandra Dunn, as part of its spring environmental law conference.

Background Reading: White House Questions EPA’s Data Choices In Draft PFHxA Assessment

EPA Budget

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an April 6 hearing on EPA’s fiscal year 2023 budget request. The TSCA office is seeking boosts of roughly 50 percent to both funding and staff levels in the coming year, arguing that those investments are necessary to close massive resource and personnel shortfalls that have dogged the program for years, though Republicans are likely to be skeptical.

Background Reading: EPA Seeks To Boost TSCA Funding, Staff Levels By Half In FY23 Budget

Biofuels

EPA will hold the next in its ongoing series of outreach meetings on new-chemicals reviews targeted to the biofuels sector on April 6. This week’s meeting focuses on the new chemicals program’s “risk management actions, including TSCA section 5 orders and significant new use rules (SNURs).” While the agency is generally seeking to streamline TSCA reviews of biofuels, some in the sector are renewing calls for more of their chemicals to be exempted from the law altogether as “natural” substances.

Background Reading: EPA Faces Renewed Calls To Apply TSCA ‘Natural’ Exemption To Biofuels

Looking Ahead

GlobalChem

The main GlobalChem conference runs April 11-14, with a wide-ranging agenda covering TSCA regulation of articles, occupational risks, EPA’s plans for the 10 Trump-era chemical evaluations, systematic review practices and new approach methods (NAMs) for toxicity testing, among many other subjects.

Background Reading: Freedhoff Aims To Balance TSCA Fenceline Screenings With Rules’ ‘Urgency’

Asbestos

EPA has told environmentalists it plans to propose a TSCA data-gathering rule for asbestos by April 14, as the next step in fulfilling a settlement agreement it signed after a court faulted its Trump-era rejection of petitions seeking to list the notorious carcinogen in the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) program.

Background Reading: Stakeholders Renew Clash Over TSCA Asbestos Limits In OMB Meetings

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