Stakeholder comments are due this week on the draft model EPA plans to use to screen some of its 10 Trump-era TSCA chemical evaluations for risks to fenceline communities -- a process that will drive decisions on whether to supplement those reviews or instead move directly to rulemaking. The agency is also presenting its recently completed analysis of data from the 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting cycle.
March 22 is the deadline for public comments on EPA’s draft fenceline screening approach, following the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals’ (SACC) peer review of the document the previous week. There, members of the panel appeared split on whether the draft is robust enough to be the basis for EPA’s decisions to supplement its Trump-era Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations, even after chemicals chief Michal Freedhoff raised concerns that a too-aggressive approach could undermine the agency’s “urgency” to craft risk management rules.
Background Reading: SACC Doubts TSCA Fenceline Method Despite EPA Push For Lenient Review
EPA will host a March 23 webinar to showcase its analysis of the 2020 TRI data. That year marked the first time facilities were required to report on their management, releases and disposal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but environmentalists say information on those chemicals is incomplete at best due to “loopholes” in EPA’s rules adding them to the program.
Background Reading: EPA Hints At Settlement Talks In Challenge To PFAS TRI Listings
EPA will host a March 21 webinar on “Mainstreaming Green Chemistry in Metal Finishing Operations,” focused on identifying metrics for safer chemical uses in the sector.
Background Reading: OSTP Eyes Early Steps To Define ‘Sustainable Chemistry’ Under 2021 Law
The Collaborative on Health and Environment will host a March 22 webinar on the effects of prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), focused on a recent study that “found language delay in children associated with maternal exposure to mixtures of EDCs during pregnancy” at levels the group says are common in real-world conditions -- echoing a growing push for stronger review of chemicals’ developmental neurotoxicity (DNT).
Background Reading: Researchers Urge Mandatory DNT Toxicity Testing For New Chemicals
TSCA Policy Shifts
The law firm Keller & Heckman will host its monthly “TSCA 30/30” webinar on March 23, with an agenda that covers three “recent Biden EPA initiatives” related to the toxics program: its move to drop a longstanding process for correcting data in the TSCA inventory of chemicals in commerce; efforts to streamline review of chemicals related to biofuels; and the use of new approach methods (NAMs) in toxicity testing.
Background Reading: Industry Bemoans EPA Plan To Require PMN To Correct TSCA Inventory
EPA’s Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice will meet March 24 to discuss computational approaches to integrating NAMs into “fit-for-purpose” DNT hazard analysis.
The National Academy of Sciences panel commissioned by EPA to compare NAM-based chemical tests with traditional animal testing will hold a closed-door meeting on March 24.
Background Reading: EPA Plans ‘Confidence’ Framework For NAMs In Regulatory Work By 2024
Jori Reilly-Diakun, an attorney and advisor on pesticides and toxic substances at the EPA Office of General Counsel, will speak at the Environmental Law Institute’s March 25 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Conference. Reilly-Diakun is slated to discuss “Environmental Citizen Suits and the Inequities of Races to the Top.”
Background Reading: Environmentalists Urge EPA Outreach Based On ‘Fenceline’ Case Studies
EPA will hold the next in its ongoing series of outreach meetings on new-chemicals reviews targeted to the biofuels sector on March 23, focused on the new chemicals program’s “risk assessments and applications of the tools and models” for the industry.
Background Reading: EPA Sees ‘Most’ Biofuels Facing TSCA Scrutiny, But End Use Exempted
Environmentalists suing EPA over its response to their TSCA petition seeking more stringent testing of 54 PFAS linked to a Chemours facility in North Carolina are due to file a brief by March 24 opposing the agency’s push to transfer the suit to a federal court in North Carolina, where five of six current judges were nominated by Republican presidents.
Background Reading: EPA Seeks New Venue For PFAS Testing Suit But Plaintiffs Plan To Resist
The Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) annual meeting runs March 27-31 in San Diego, CA. Speakers on the agenda include a host of academics, EPA biologist Urmila Kodavanti, and the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Linda Birnbaum.
Background Reading: Birnbaum Says New PFAS Health Studies Support ‘Class’ Approach