Changes to Public Availability of TSCA Section 5 Submissions
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving to a real-time system of providing information to the public as part of a commitment to ensure transparency in its program. Starting May 30, 2019, EPA began publishing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 (PMN, MCAN and SNUN) notices and attachments – including any health and safety studies, any modifications thereto and all other associated information in ChemView – in the form received. The EPA will not review filings with sanitized confidential business information before publishing. Learn more at https://www.epa.gov/reviewing-new-chemicals-under-toxic-substances-control-act-tsca/filing-pre-manufacture-notice-epa#tab-1.
New Chemical Review Backlog: Action Needed!
At the April 9, 2019, US House subcommittee budget hearing, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was questioned about the current caseload for new chemical reviews. When reminded that current legislation mandates that new chemical reviews be completed within 90 days but no later than 180 days, Wheeler confirmed that, of the 527 pending new chemical review submissions, 110 are older than 90 days and 270 are older than 180 days.
If your company’s new chemical notification is among the 380 submissions in backlog, RadTech urges you to inform your state’s congressional delegation. Submit a simple letter referencing Wheeler’s statements from the hearing and noting that this impacts your company directly. The letter or message may be submitted through your state’s senators’ and representatives’ webpages (see https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials). Explain how the delay affects plans for commercialization, and remind elected officials of the number of workers and economic impact your company’s facility contributes within the state.
Contact Michael Gould, RadTech EHS Chair (Michael.Gould@Rahn-Group.com), if you send a communication and share what response you receive. Depending on the level of engagement by senators or representatives, RadTech will work with Bergeson & Campbell’s TSCA New Chemicals Coalition to set up face-to-face meetings over the next few months to keep the dialogue going.
Improvements to New Chemicals Website Increase Transparency
The US EPA has updated its new chemicals statistics webpage. The page now includes a flow chart showing the number of new chemicals cases (PMNs, SNUNs and MCANs) at each stage of review and detailed descriptions of each step in the process. These changes are the first step in a larger effort to increase the transparency of the new chemicals program and ensure stakeholders and the public can quickly and easily view EPA’s progress in reviewing new chemicals submissions.
TRI Data May Not Be Accurate
The top watchdog overseeing the US EPA issued a “management alert” warning that the agency’s public data on toxic substance releases are not accurate. EPA’s Office of Inspector General (IG) said the inconsistencies were “of sufficient concern to warrant immediate reporting.”
The emergency letter from the acting IG to the head of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention warned that certain information EPA released publicly about its toxic chemical releases did not match internal data. The IG found the discrepancy while auditing the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which annually collects information about toxic chemical releases reported by both industrial and government facilities. Chemicals covered by the TRI are known to cause cancer or other chronic human health effects.
Study on PV29 Released
The US EPA has announced the release of 24 studies on Pigment Violet 29 (PV29) used by the agency to develop the draft risk evaluation under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended TSCA. PV29 is a chemical used as a colorant, primarily in inks, paints, coatings and plastics. Robust summaries of the studies were provided to the public, along with the draft risk evaluation, on Nov. 15, 2018. Since that time, companies in the study have revised confidentiality claims, dropping most of them.
The EPA has reviewed the remaining claims of confidential business information and determined that the information is entitled to confidential treatment. The release of these studies does not change the EPA’s proposed “no unreasonable risk” determination. More information can be found online at https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/draft-risk-evaluation-pigment-violet-29.
Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D.
Director of Sustainability & EHS Initiatives
RadTech International North America
News from the West Coast
UV/EB Recognized in CA Senate Resolution
The office of Senator Mike Morrell has issued a California State Senate Resolution highlighting the contributions of RadTech International and the technology it promotes. RadTech sought the resolution to encourage UV/EB/LED technology as a pollution-prevention strategy. The association pointed out that conversion to UV/EB/LED would reduce emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases. Since UV/EB is an energy-efficient technology, energy savings would be achieved through its implementation. Furthermore, manufacturing jobs would be created and retained in California.
California Senate Members Resolution No. 397 recognizes RadTech’s contribution to the community as a “vital” one. It points out that RadTech has made a positive impact in the State of California and throughout the nation as an international forum for education and information related to UV/EB technology. RadTech’s effort to provide regulatory and technical support as encouragement for member companies to keep their operations in the US also was recognized. “RadTech International is responsible for helping to create jobs and strengthen the economy…” the document states.
SCAQMD Requests Five-Year Extension to Meet Standard
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is asking the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an additional five years to meet federal clean air requirements. The district seeks a “voluntary reclassification” for the 1997 eight-hour federal standard for ozone in Coachella Valley. If granted, the area will be reclassified to “extreme” status, and EPA will allow South Coast AQMD up to five additional years (June 2024) to reach attainment.
According to SCAQMD, Coachella Valley is currently classified as “severe nonattainment” for ground-level ozone and faced a June 2019 deadline to meet the federal air quality standard of 0.08 parts per million (ppm). The valley is downwind from the South Coast Air Basin. When high levels of ozone form in SCAQMD, it is blown toward Coachella Valley. The same process occurs with ozone precursors, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from mobile and stationary sources. Those emissions are the main culprit for high ozone levels in the Coachella Valley.
The Coachella Valley has attained federal standards for one-hour ozone, particulate matter 2.5, nitrogen oxides, lead and sulfur dioxide. SCAQMD’s regulations are credited with the attainment.
If approved by EPA, the new “extreme” classification would result in stricter emissions thresholds for major stationary sources in the area, lowering the threshold from 25 tons per year to 10 tons per year for NOx and VOCs. It also could result in more stringent permitting requirements. In addition, the agency will be required to revise its State Implementation Plan, which serves as the roadmap toward meeting the federal standard.
Grants for Community Air Protection Program
The California Legislature has budgeted $495 million in the past two years for local air districts to provide incentives for technologies that reduce air pollution. Although most of the funding is directed at mobile sources, funds also may be used for changes at local industrial facilities that reduce emissions of toxic or smog-forming pollutants.
The legislature has appropriated incentive funding to support early actions to address localized air pollution in communities that are most affected. Between fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, the state budget has appropriated the California Air Resources Board (CARB) almost $500 million in “California Climate Investments” funding for Community Air Protection (CAP) incentives to be administered by air districts in partnership with local communities.
The program has new eligibility for the replacement of equipment at locations of stationary sources of air pollution that will result in direct reductions of Toxic Air Contaminants or criteria air pollutants. For stationary sources, proposed incentives would cut hexavalent chromium emissions from chrome plating facilities through conversion to less toxic trivalent chromium or through the installation of emissions control technologies. Proposals would reduce air pollution in schools through a suite of project types intended to reduce children’s risk of exposure in classrooms along with emissions of criteria air pollutants in and around schools. The proposed new project types include replacement of aging furniture with low- or no-added formaldehyde products and air filtration enhancements. UV/EB/LED processes may be well positioned to fill the need. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Regional Environmental Affairs
RadTech International North America