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

TSCA Week Ahead

The Week Ahead

EPA Speakers Set For SOT Meeting; Congress To Hold FY23 Budget Hearings

March 28, 2022

EPA scientists and researchers are scheduled to speak on a variety of topics related to chemical risks and regulation, including a panel focused squarely on TSCA risk evaluations, during the Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) annual meeting this week in San Diego. House and Senate budget committees are scheduled to hold hearings on President Joe Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2023, as debate continues to swirl around the toxics office’s staffing levels.

SOT Meeting

The Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) annual meeting runs March 27-31 in San Diego, CA, and the agenda features a score of EPA staff in speaking slots, including several from the agency’s computational toxicology research center. Notably, EPA’s Stan Barone will co-chair a March 30 panel on “Challenges with the TSCA Risk Evaluation Assessments of Occupational Exposures, Worker Health and Safety, and Risk.” And the retired director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Linda Birnbaum, will give a merit award lecture titled, “A Tale of Two ‘Toxins’: Dioxins and PFAS.”

Background Reading: Birnbaum Says New PFAS Health Studies Support ‘Class’ Approach

EPA Budget

The House and Senate Budget Committees will hold hearings this week on President Biden’s FY23 budget request to Congress for EPA and other federal agencies. White House Office of Management & Budget Director Shalanda Young will testify March 29 before the House Budget Committee and March 20 before the Senate Budget Committee on the administration’s FY23 budget proposal, to be released March 28.

The beginning of the FY23 budget process tees up the next round of debate on how to bolster the notoriously overtaxed and understaffed TSCA program, after Congress used the FY22 spending omnibus to allocate 25 new staff positions to EPA’s chemicals office. However, the agency has come under fire from environmentalists for a plan to devote 12 full-time scientists to the voluntary Safer Choice program instead of TSCA.

Background Reading: PEER Fears EPA May Use FY22 Hiring To Bolster Safer Choice, Not TSCA

New Chemicals

Comments are due March 30 on new chemical submissions EPA received in January. While comments on such submissions are often perfunctory, environmentalists are suing the agency to force it to open the TSCA new-chemicals process to greater public scrutiny and stakeholder engagement, with active litigation set to begin in the coming weeks after years of closed-door negotiations on procedural issues.

Background Reading: Suit Over Transparency Of EPA’s New Chemicals Program Heads To Court

Looking Ahead

PFHxA Assessment

April 4 marks the comment deadline for the draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of the per- and polyfluorakyl substance (PFAS) known as PFHxA, one of a handful of such compounds that the IRIS program is assessing as part EPA’s roadmap for addressing the substances. Other agencies have questioned EPA’s decision to rely on animal toxicology data instead of human epidemiology, according to their written comments.

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

GlobalChem

The chemical industry’s annual GlobalChem conference kicks off April 5 with a pre-conference workshop on various aspects of EPA’s implementation of the reformed TSCA, including advice on submitting new chemical applications for review, agency data-gathering using authorities in the law’s sections 4 and 8, and challenges and opportunities for trade secret information.

Background Reading: Industry Fears OCSPP Reforms Will Further Delay New-Chemical Reviews

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