EPA Awards Contracts to U.S. Companies to Screen Chemicals for Human Health Impacts

Chemical Screening:

EPA continues in its laudable quest to screen thousands of chemicals.  See press release below.


EPA Awards Contracts to U.S. Companies to Screen Chemicals for Human Health Impacts

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ToxCast chemical screening program has awarded contracts to four United States-based companies to test up to 10,000 chemicals for potential toxicity to people and the environment. ToxCast is designed to determine how chemical exposures affect human health.  When fully implemented, ToxCast will be able to screen thousands of chemicals in fast, cost-effective tests.

The four companies will initially screen up to 1,000 chemicals currently in the ToxCast program using innovative technologies such as stem cell toxicity tests. These new technologies can quickly determine the potential for a chemical to cause harm to the human body.  Screening results from the new technologies will be combined with data already being generated by the other 500 rapid chemical tests used by EPA’s ToxCast program.

The chemicals ToxCast is now screening are found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs. ToxCast’s goal is to reduce EPA’s reliance on slow and expensive animal toxicity tests, enabling the agency to screen chemicals more quickly and to predict and identify potential risks to Americans.

EPA scientific studies using ToxCast have already been published in peer-reviewed science journals, and demonstrate the ability of ToxCast to predict a chemical’s potential to cause several diseases.

The four companies awarded the contracts have offices throughout the country and plan to hire new scientific staff to help with the project. The companies are Vala Sciences, Cee Tox, CellzDirect and BioReliance.  Two of the companies, Vala Sciences and BioReliance are small businesses based in San Diego, Calif. and Kalamazoo, Mich. All four companies plan to hire new employees as a result of these contracts.

More information on ToxCast:  http://epa.gov/ncct/toxcast/

More information on ToxCast database:  http://actor.epa.gov/actor/faces/ToxCastDB/Home.jsp


EPA Publishes Rule to Improve Reporting of Chemical Information – Chemical Data Reporting Rule, Formerly Inventory Update Rule

TSCA – Inventory Update Rule:

Readers may recall a post from this time last year concerning EPA’s proposal to revise TSCA’s Inventory Update Rule.  Well, the Agency has now published the final version, which is available here.  Also, here are links to commentary on the rule from Environmental Defense and the National Petrochemical and Refiners’ Assocation, which should give readers a flavor of the contrasting opinions currently circulating.  Embedded below is a copy of EPA’s press release.  Check back soon for a more detailed posting, setting out a short analysis of the rule.


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is increasing the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers, allowing the agency to better identify and manage potential risks to Americans’ health and the environment. The improved rule, known as the chemical data reporting rule (CDR), also requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA, rather than on paper, and limits confidentiality claims by companies. The changes are part of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s commitment to strengthen the agency’s chemical management program and increase the transparency of critical information on chemicals. 

“Collecting this critical information on widely used chemicals will enable EPA to more effectively identify and address potential chemical risks,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The new electronic reporting requirement and limits on confidentiality claims also will bring EPA’s data collection effort into the 21st Century and give the American people greater access to a wider range of information on chemicals to which their children and families are exposed every day.”

The CDR rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory update rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data, and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. The improved information will allow EPA to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals.

EPA is requiring companies to submit the information through the Internet, using EPA’s electronic reporting tool. On-line reporting will improve both data quality and EPA’s ability to use the data, as well as make it more accessible to the public.

Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.

More information about the CDR Rule and reporting program is available at www.epa.gov/iur.