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

TSCA Week Ahead

The Week Ahead

TSCA Risk Evaluations, PFAS Rule And Key Advisory Meetings Lead Week’s Agenda

June 22, 2020

EPA is due today (June 22) to issue its much-anticipated significant new use rule (SNUR) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) though the agency is expected to miss its June 22 deadline to complete all 10 of its first high-priority chemical risk evaluations under the revised Toxics Substances Control Act.

The deadline marks the revised law’s 4th anniversary, an event that will be discussed at an Environmental Law Institute conference June 24.

Also this week, two key advisory groups will examine EPA’s toxicity assessment guidelines and five-year research strategy.

PFAS Regulation

The fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act set a June 22 deadline for EPA to issue a final SNUR for a group of long-chain PFAS.

EPA on June 3 sent a final SNUR for White House approval, after a March supplemental notice to a long-standing proposal prompted controversy, in particular because of “safe harbor” provisions that critics say would exempt many companies by limiting the scope of the requirements.

Lawyers also say that the rule will set the basis for future measures exempting “articles” from regulation under the new chemicals program. “One of the goals of the proposed supplemental SNUR is to establish the ground rules for EPA’s consideration of the article exemption in future SNUR actions,” the lawyers say.

TSCA Risk Evaluations

The first 10 risk evaluations under TSCA section 6 are due today (June 22) though EPA has so far issued only its analysis of methylene chloride’s risks. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has acknowledged the agency will miss the statutory deadline for issuing all 10 of the risk evaluations likely expected later this month.

Toxicity And Risk Research Reviews

EPA’s Science Advisory Board’s Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee meets by webcast on June 23 to examine efforts to consolidate the agency’s human toxicity assessment guidelines and alternatives to using animals in chronic and carcinogenicity testing which is a top priority for the chemical industry. The group also will examine two draft SAB reports on the “All Ages Lead Model” and the “Computational General Equilibrium” (CGE) model.

In addition, a subcommittee of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors will hold a June 24 videoconference to finalize a preliminary draft report on its Health and Environmental Risk Assessment research strategy through fiscal year 2022.

Chemical Sustainability

The American Chemistry Council on June 24 hosts the ninth in its series of 10 webinars as a virtual substitute for the Global Chem Conference. This week’s session will address “Sustainability: A New Benchmark for Chemicals and Chemical Regulation?” with presentations by industry leaders, researchers and international regulators. “The panel will consider global trends in sustainability, including those emerging in Europe under the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Strategy, and how those trends may be shaped going forward in a post-pandemic world,” according to the ACC webinar registration page.

TSCA Reform Anniversary

The Environmental Law Institute hosts a June 24 webinar to review the successes and failures of TSCA on the fourth anniversary of 2016 reforms. “Leading panelists will reflect on the accomplishments and challenges since the implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Amendments and where the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) stands today,” says the webinar registration page. “Panelists will dive into a host of topics, including the current impacts of TSCA on science policies, challenges faced by industry, and the impacts of TSCA on regulatory policies especially those concerning ensuring compliance and enforcement.”

The event is being co-hosted by law firm Bergeson & Campbell and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Coastal Toxicity Survey

EPA Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure hosts a June 25 webinar on Great Lakes toxicity as part of the National Aquatic Resource Surveys. The National Coastal Condition Assessment “collects indicators of sediment, fish, and water quality of the Great Lakes and marine estuaries every 5 years. Surveys help managers understand the status and trends in condition of these important ecological, biological, and recreational resources. They use the data to decide how to protect areas that are in very good condition or vulnerable to degradation and to restore areas that have suffered environmental damage,” according to the event’s registration page.

Neurotoxicity Research Gaps

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine conducts a June 25 virtual “workshop” to examine neurotoxic exposures and how they lead to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Presenters will discuss “research gaps and collaborative opportunities between neuroscientists and environmental health scientists,” according to the event’s registration page.

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