US EPA Submits TSCA Fees Rule for Review and Approval
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has submitted its final rule covering how it will administer fees under the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Industry groups complained that the fees on new chemicals have been set too high and will threaten innovation. It remains to be seen whether EPA will significantly amend its proposed fees in the final rule. Other instances of major TSCA rulemaking – including the risk evaluation and prioritization rules – resulted in marked differences in the final versions compared with first drafts.
Keeping Safe During Natural Disasters
Hurricane season peaks in the fall, and wildfires have burned throughout the Pacific Northwest and from California to Colorado. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers to be prepared to keep workers safe during extreme weather and other catastrophic events. The agency’s Emergency Preparedness and Response web page provides information on protecting workers before and after hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters strike. For more information, visit: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/.
Court Ruling Expands Stormwater Regulation
The US District Court for the Central District of California gave environmental groups a significant win in their bid to force the US EPA to regulate new sources of stormwater discharges under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The case is one of several pending actions concerning EPA’s authority to require National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for sources of stormwater that are not currently regulated. If the court’s decision withstands a likely appeal, the EPA will be required to prohibit or issue NPDES permits for discharges of stormwater from privately owned commercial, industrial and institutional sites.
OSHA On-Site Consultation Shows Benefits
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) On-Site Consultation Program provides free, confidential safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses. Employers that implement the workplace improvements suggested by OSHA consultants can reduce lost time due to injuries and illnesses. This, in turn, can lead to higher employee morale, increased productivity and lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Learn more at https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html.
SGP Welcomes TLMI L.I.F.E. Certified Facilities
The Tag and Label Manufacturing Institute’s L.I.F.E. (Label Initiative for the Environment) certification program has merged with the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) certification program. SGP is a nonprofit organization that certifies printing facilities’ sustainability best practices, advocating innovation among print community stakeholders and aligning the printing industry in the pursuit of a more accountable sustainable supply chain. SGP is supported by the Printing Industries of America (PIA), Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), National Association of Print Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) and RadTech. With the merger – and TLMI becoming an SGP Resource Partner – SGP anticipates an even stronger, more sustainable future for the printing industry. A transition program has been developed to integrate the L.I.F.E. facilities. Learn more at www.sgppartnership.org.
Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D.
Director of Sustainability & EHS Initiatives
RadTech International North America
News From the West Coast
UV/EB now Statewide BACT in California
UV/EB technology has been listed as Best Available Control Technology by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). More information is available in this magazine’s Association News.
Test Method for UV Thin films
RadTech continues its efforts to persuade regulators to accept ASTM D7767 for thin film UV/EB materials. During the 2017 rulemaking for Rule 1168 (Adhesives), South Coast Air Quality Management District staff raised the issue of test methods for UV/EB materials. SCAQMD staff claimed that US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 24 could be used for energy-curable materials, ignoring the well-established EPA policy that it is “Not applicable to UV radiation-cured coatings …” With the support of SCAQMD board members Joe Lyou and Councilwoman Judith Mitchell, RadTech received a commitment that formulation data would be used for thin film materials and that no enforcement action would be taken until staff works with industry to review ASTM D7767 (the RadTech-endorsed method). RadTech was successful in persuading the district to remove a decades-old policy of “Multiple Test Methods,” which allowed the agency to choose a method arbitrarily, without notifying the end user, and potentially assessing fines based on the results of the test. ASTM D7767 also was added to the definition section as a method that “may” be used.
As part of the 2017 rulemaking, staff proposed developing a guidance document to address issues related to the test method for UV/EB thin films as well as other chemistries and presenting a proposal to the board within a year. The guidance document recently was presented to the district’s Stationary Source Committee. RadTech submitted written comments approved by its Environmental Health and Safety Committee. RadTech countered district staff’s position that ASTM D7767-11 is not appropriate for enforcement purposes because it would require district inspectors to rely on information about the formulation from the business under investigation. They have agreed that, until the district develops a method it considers enforceable, formulation data will be allowed. The agency announced that it has no plans to develop a method for UV/EB thin films at this time, as it does not know of any facilities in the basin that would be subject to the requirements of the rule.
During the hearing, RadTech provided background on the association’s work to get ASTM approval for D7767. RadTech emphasized that ASTM, the premier organization in test method development, has certified ASTM D7767 as a viable method to “measure” – and not just “estimate” – VOC emissions. RadTech urged the inclusion of a cost analysis for the proposed testing. The district has not proposed an alternative test, and the default is usually EPA Method 24, which staff has already found inappropriate for energy-curable materials.
The district also announced that it is in the process of performing round-robin testing for its Method 313 – a Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy approach – for architectural coatings. Ten companies are participating in the round-robin process. Industry representatives expressed concern over extrapolating a method for architectural coatings to adhesives.
Annual Report on Air Quality
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its “Annual Report on Air Quality.” Among other things, the report states that between 1967 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key air pollutants dropped by 73%, while the US economy grew by more than three times. The following emission reductions were reported:
- CO – 77%
- Pb – 80%
- NO2 (annual) – 56%
- NO2 (1-hour) – 50%
- O3 – 22%
- PM10 – 34%
- PM2.5 (annual) – 41%
- PM2.5 (24-hour) – 40%
- SO2 – 88%
The report also acknowledged the contribution of clean air industries: “In 2008, the United States environmental technologies and services industry supported 1.7 million jobs. The industry generated approximately $300 billion in revenues and exported goods and services worth $44 billion – larger than exports of sectors such as plastics and rubber products. Environmental technology exports help the US balance of trade, generating a $10.9 billion surplus in 2008.”
A one-page summary of the report can be found here: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2018/documentation/AirTrends_Flyer.pdf.
California New Emissions Reporting Regulations
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently proposed new regulations for reporting Criteria Pollutants and Toxic Air Contaminants. CARB states that the new regulations are intended to “provide enhanced transparency and public right-to-know,” to comply with new legislative mandates (pursuant to California Assembly Bills AB 197 and AB 617), and to modernize and integrate data-management processes.
The agency says the changes will improve access to data in user-friendly forms, such as maps and graphs, as well as harmonize data submittal requirements, methods, deadlines, frequency (i.e., annual data updates) and facility identification. CARB will collect supplemental data to identify localized and cumulative impacts.
Data will be reported at the “device and process level.” The proposed regulation will include phased-in requirements for supplemental data reporting including stack heights and locations, facility location information and data about the facility footprint. CARB staff plans to bring a proposal to its board in late 2018.
Director of Regional Environmental Affairs
RadTech International North America