TSCA Week Ahead

The Week Ahead

House Weighs TSCA Funding; Comments Close On New-Chemicals Plan

April 25, 2022

House appropriators will hold their first hearing on EPA’s fiscal year 2023 budget this week, as the Biden administration seeks a massive boost to the TSCA office’s funds and staffing that officials say will be necessary to fulfill their responsibilities under the toxics law. Comments are arriving on a series of TSCA proposals and draft items, most prominently the agency’s research plan to bolster risk assessments in the new-chemicals program.

EPA Budget

The House Appropriations Committee’s panel on interior, environment and related agencies will hold a hearing on EPA’s FY23 budget request on April 29. The agency is seeking a 50 percent boost to funds and staffing for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program, and top officials including chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff say those increases are crucial to achieve fundamental statutory goals including clearing a backlog of new-chemical reviews and completing more than 20 pending risk evaluations.

Background Reading: Citing Budget Gap, Freedhoff Defends TSCA Program From Industry Critique

New Chemicals

Comments are due April 26 on EPA’s written “problem statement, vision and research action plan” outlining how officials intend to bolster assessments of new chemicals, following a two-day meeting where officials touted several aspects of the plan including its focus on collaboration with other agency offices and even foreign regulators.

The draft would prioritize updating systems for categorizing chemicals, bolstering chemical databases, developing and improving chemical models and assessing how to increase use of new approach methods (NAMs) of toxicity testing as an alternative to live-animal tests.

Background Reading: Officials Tout ‘Collaborative’ New Chemicals Plan But Face Early Questions

Chloroform

EPA is accepting nominations through April 29 for its Science Advisory Board panel that will peer review the upcoming draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of chloroform. The IRIS program is using its work on chloroform as a test case for a novel probabilistic approach developed to craft risk estimates for non-cancer health dangers that can be compared directly to cancer risks -- a long-standing problem for EPA’s chemical assessors.

Background Reading: SAB Seeks Peer Reviewers For IRIS Chloroform Assessment

Formaldehyde Emissions

Comments are due April 28 on EPA’s proposed rule that would update a host of “technical” provisions and consensus standards in its Obama-era TSCA rule governing formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. While those aspects of the regulation are largely non-controversial, the proposal came alongside a long-awaited guidance for makers of laminate wood products to seek exemptions from the emissions standards.

Background Reading: EPA Releases Long-Sought Waiver Guide For TSCA Formaldehyde Rule

Looking Ahead

NAMs

EPA officials including Russell Thomas, head of the agency’s computational toxicology research office, will speak on a May 4 webcast organized by the Food and Drug Administration and Society of Toxicology on the emerging science of toxicogenomics, which uses genomic data to analyze chemicals’ toxic effects and their modes of action.

Background Reading: EPA Plans ‘Confidence’ Framework For NAMs In Regulatory Work By 2024

Sustainable Chemistry

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has scheduled a May 6 industry roundtable on the White House-led project to establish a “national coordinating entity” to oversee federal work on sustainable chemistry and bolster the discipline. The Biden administration recently put out a call for public input on that project, including definitions of “sustainable” practices and the distinction between those and “green chemistry” -- which has been a subject of debate for years.

Background Reading: OSTP Seeks Clear ‘Sustainable Chemistry’ Definition To Aid New Program

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