TSCA Week Ahead

The Week Ahead

Freedhoff Headlines GlobalChem Conference; Panels Eye PFAS Regulation

April 11, 2022

EPA chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff will deliver the keynote address at this week’s industry-led GlobalChem conference, followed by panel discussions on a wide range of TSCA issues. Legal and environmental groups are hosting a pair of events on regulatory options for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including the possibility for EPA to regulate such chemicals as a single class.

GlobalChem

The online GlobalChem conference opens with Freedhoff’s keynote on April 11, followed by a question-and-answer session with deputy the toxics office directors Tala Henry and Mark Hartman. The full event runs through April 14, with a wide-ranging agenda covering Toxic Substances Control Act (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’

PFAS

The American Legal Institute-Continuing Legal Education (ALI-CLE) program will host an April 12 webinar examining federal and state plans for PFAS regulation, moderated by Alex Dunn, who led the chemicals office for much of the Trump administration.

On April 14, the group Alaska Community Action on Toxics will host a webinar on PFAS policy featuring researcher Carol Kwiatkowski, a North Carolina State University adjunct professor and science and policy senior associate at the Green Science Policy Institute. Kwiatkowski will be discussing “the scientific basis” for regulating PFAS as a single class -- which environmental groups have argued is necessary to address the chemicals’ dangers, but industry says is unwarranted and overbroad.

Background Reading: Industry Sees Mixed Messages In EPA’s PFAS Enforcement Warning

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. The data proposal will be issued just days after the agency issued a landmark proposal to ban uses of chrysotile asbestos.

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

TSCA Data-Gathering

Comments are due this week on two proposed information collection requests (ICRs) from the TSCA office.

April 11 is the deadline for input on a renewed ICR for TSCA-mandated reports of new data showing when chemicals pose a “significant risk” to human health or the environment -- which the agency proposed just weeks after it resumed publishing such notices online, following a more than two-year gap when it said it lacked the staff and other resources to continue that long-standing practice.

Comments are due April 15 on a proposed extension for EPA’s standing ICR used to determine when it should disclose TSCA information otherwise considered confidential to state, tribal, and local governments; environmental, health, and medical professionals; and emergency responders -- each of which can only access such data when “certain conditions” are met.

Background Reading: EPA Seeks To Renew Data Gathering Power For ‘Substantial Risk’ Notices

Looking Ahead

Systematic Review

EPA’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) will meet April 19-21 to peer-review the TSCA office’s new draft approach to systematic review in chemical risk evaluations. The agency is in the process of replacing a Trump-era model for the practice that the National Academy of Sciences said in its 2021 peer review was deeply flawed, but some environmental and academic groups say the new approach does not go far enough to remedy those faults.

Background Reading: Groups Say TSCA Systematic Review Draft Repeats Some Trump-Era Flaws

TSCA ‘Modernization’

EPA’s chemical-safety and research offices will host a two-day meeting April 20-21 on their plan to “develop and implement a multi-year collaborative research program” designed to “modernize” TSCA chemical risk assessments.

Background Reading: EPA Outlines Research Plan To ‘Modernize’ TSCA New Chemicals Reviews

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