EPA Proposes Non-Consent-Order SNURs for 13 Chemical Substances

On October 16, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would establish Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 13 chemical substances for which premanufacture notices (PMNs) have been approved during the two years since the statute was amended. A total of 6 SNURs were proposed for these 13 substances. Unlike other recent SNURs enacted after TSCA was amended, the 13 chemical substances are not also subject to consent orders. Indeed, all previously proposed and final SNURs for PMNs under amended TSCA were for substances for which EPA had previously negotiated orders under TSCA Section 5(e).

The proposed SNURs would require that persons who intend to manufacture (including import) or process any of the 13 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use submit a “Significant New Use Notice” to EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. And, consistent with the SNUR regulations at 40 CFR § 721.25, the proposed rule states that persons may not commence the manufacture or processing for the significant new use until EPA has conducted a review of the notice and decided on the notice, and the person has taken any actions as are required as a result of that determination. Comments on the proposed SNURs are due November 15, 2018.

EPA Publishes Direct Final Rules for 29 Significant New Use Rules

On August 27, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two direct final rules promulgating significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The first direct final rule promulgates SNURs for ten chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). 83 Fed. Reg. 43527. The second direct final rule promulgates SNURs for 19 chemical substances that were the subject of PMNs. 83 Fed. Reg. 43538. All 29 chemical substances are subject to consent orders issued by EPA pursuant to TSCA Section 5(e). The rules require persons who intend to manufacture (including import) or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that new use.

The covered chemicals vary, but include several substances intended for use as coatings additives. The requirements for each of the substances differ, but may include limitations on the uses of the substance, hazard communication, personal protective equipment use, and the submission of certain toxicity testing data. Both direct final rules will be effective on October 26, 2018.

EPA Publishes Final Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory

On June 27, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final “Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory” Rule. As required under section 8(b)(10)(D) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA finalized reporting requirements for regulated entities to provide information to assist in the preparation of an “inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States.”

The requirements apply to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process. The reporting requirements apply to “mercury” as both “elemental mercury” and “a mercury compound.” EPA provides a list of these compounds in the final rule. Reporting requirements vary based on whether the entity is manufacturing mercury, manufacturing a mercury added product, or intentionally using mercury in a manufacturing process, other than the manufacture of a mercury compound or a mercury-added product. EPA will collect data through the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application of its CDX system.

Based on the inventory of information collected, the Agency is directed to “identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury; and . . . recommend actions, including proposed revisions of Federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use.” EPA stated in the final rule that it is not making such identifications or recommendations at this time.

EPA will use data from the 2018 reporting year for the 2020 mercury inventory. The 2018 reporting year is from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and the submission deadline for the 2018 reporting year is July 1, 2019.

Sherwin-Williams to Remove Paint-Removal Products Containing Methylene Chloride

Sherwin-Williams is phasing out the use of paint-removal products containing methylene chloride by the end of this year. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have also announced they will phase out paint removal products that contain methylene chloride. These actions are likely a response to EPA’s forthcoming rulemaking on the substance.

In January, 2017, EPA proposed prohibiting the consumer and commercial paint stripping used for methylene chloride. On May 10, 2018, EPA announced it was working on sending the finalized rulemaking to Office of Management and Budget “shortly.”

TSCA Fees Rule — Release of Supplemental Information and Comment Period Extension

On April 24, 2018, EPA released for public comment a supplemental analysis on the definitions of small business size and their effect on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) user fee collection. In the proposed fees rule EPA released in February, small businesses can quality for reduced fee amounts. For the supplemental analysis, EPA requested comment on:

  • Whether an employee-based size standard (how many people are working there) would be more appropriate than a revenue-based size standard (how much revenue comes in), and what that employee level should be (note: the revenue level standard is already in the proposed rule);
  • Whether either size standard should vary from industry to industry for any reason;
  • What other factors and data sources the Agency should consider, besides inflation, when developing the size standard; and
  • What should the new TSCA section 5 fee amounts be if EPA changes the size standard?

EPA is also extending the comment period for the proposed TSCA fees rule until May 24, 2018. This is meant to give interested parties more time to comment on both the rule and the supplemental analysis.

EPA Issues Draft TSCA Inventory With “Active” Substance Designations

Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Reset Rule, manufacturers and importers were required to report all chemical substances that were active in commerce in the ten year “look-back period” ending June 21, 2016. Based on the information it received, the EPA published a draft version of the TSCA Inventory that contains 38,304 substances with “active” designations.

The draft Inventory designates as active those substances:

  • Substances notified under the 2012 and 2016 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule;
  • Those substances EPA received notices of commencement (NOCs) since June 21, 2006; and
  • Substances reported via notices of activity (NOAs) before the February 7, 2018 Inventory Reset reporting deadline.

Substances listed as “active” in the draft Inventory include 30,972 on the public inventory and 7,332 on the confidential inventory. There are approximately 48,000 substances that have not been reported as active.

“Active” designations may grow in the coming months. The Inventory Reset Rule allows processors to report any substances that did not get reported as active by manufacturers or importers until October 5, 2018. In addition EPA has established a process to “activate” substances that are designated inactive.

Download the draft “active” Inventory here.

EPA Releases Draft Guidance on TSCA CBI Disclosures and Requests Comments

On March 13, 2018, EPA released three draft guidance documents for public comment clarifying the circumstances under which EPA may disclose TSCA confidential business information (CBI) with an expanded set of people. Comments will be accepted until April 16, 2018.

Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) expanded the categories of people who may now access information claimed as CBI under TSCA. Information that a business claims as CBI under TSCA is protected from disclosure until the business withdraws the CBI claim, until the CBI claim expires, until EPA determines that the claim is not entitled to confidential treatment, or as authorized under TSCA and EPA regulations.

The draft guidance documents are:

EPA Publishes TSCA User Fee Proposed Rule

Under the proposed TSCA User Fee Rule, submitters would pay $16,000 for each PMN. This was announced on February 8, 2018, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule regarding user fees for the administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The current fee for a PMN submission is $2,500. EPA estimates the average cost of a PMN for processing, reviewing, making determinations, and taking any regulatory action such as with a SNUR or an order is approximately $55,000. Fees would also apply to submissions related to risk evaluation and EPA mandated testing of chemical substances and mixtures.

The proposed rule was published on February 27, 2018. Comments on the rule must be received on or before April 27, 2018 (Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0401).

Amended TSCA provides EPA the authority to charge fees to chemical manufacturers, including importers, and processors to “provide a sustainable source of funding to defray resources that are available for implementation of new responsibilities under the amended law.” These fees are to be used for “developing risk evaluations for existing chemicals; collecting and reviewing toxicity and exposure data and other information; reviewing Confidential Business Information (CBI); and, making determinations in a timely and transparent manner with respect to the safety of new chemicals before they enter the marketplace.” However, EPA is not proposing to assess greater fees for submissions containing CBI claims.

Under the amendments to TSCA, EPA has authority to require payment from manufacturers and processors who:

  • Are required to submit information by test rule, test order, or enforceable consent agreement (ECA) under section 4;
  • Submit a PMN, SNUR, LVE or other notification under section 5); or
  • Manufacture or process a chemical substance that is subject to a risk evaluation under section 6, including a risk evaluation conducted at the request of a manufacturer.

Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2019 , EPA will be required to adjust fees every three years to reflect inflation and ensure that fees are sufficient to collect 25 percent of the costs to EPA in administering TSCA sections 4, 5, 6, and 14, up to $25 million. The proposed rule provides a description of proposed TSCA fees and fee categories for FYs 2019, 2020, and 2021, and explains the basis for its proposal.

TSCA Inventory Reset Deadline Is Approaching

The TSCA Inventory Reset process is designed to identify which listed chemical substances are and which are not actively used in commerce. Substances identified as “in commerce” will be placed on the “Active Inventory.” Substances not currently in commerce will be placed on the “Inactive Inventory.” Companies will not be able to lawfully manufacture, import, or process any chemical substance on the “Inactive Inventory” without first notifying the substance to EPA.

The rule establishes “retrospective” (as well as “forward-looking”) reporting requirements. During the initial retrospective reporting period, companies must report on each Inventory-listed substance that they manufactured or imported for a non-exempt purpose during the ten-year look back period (June 21, 2006 and June 21, 2016). The deadline for this reporting period is February 7, 2018.

A subsequent reporting period, beginning April 9, 2018, is designated for reporting by processors. Companies may report substances that they processed during the ten-year look back period if the substances are not already on EPA’s Active Inventory or Interim Active Inventory.

EPA Releases the 2018 Plan for Chemical Risk Evaluations under TSCA

As required under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, EPA has released its annual plan for chemical risk evaluations. The annual plan identifies the next steps for the first 10 chemical reviews currently underway, and describes EPA’s work in 2018 to prepare for future risk evaluations.

EPA was required to initiate ten risk evaluations in 2016, and is required to initiate at least 20 more within 3 years after enactment of the Lautenberg Act, or by December 2019. EPA designated the first ten chemical substances on December 19, 2016. By the end of 2018, the EPA will initiate prioritization for 40 chemicals – at least 20 Low-Priority and 20 High-Priority candidates. By December 22, 2019, EPA will designate 20 substances as Low-Priority and initiated risk evaluations on 20 High-Priority substances.

In order to support these risk evaluations and other key aspects of TSCA implementation, EPA stated that it will be proposing a draft TSCA Fees Rule in early 2018, which will provide estimates of the resources required to undertake risk evaluations.