EPA grants partial exemption from Chemical Data Reporting rule for six biodiesel chemicals.

Today, EPA announced that six biodiesel chemicals will be partially exempt from certain reporting requirements of the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule, under section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Final Rule amends the list of chemical substances exempt from submitting processing and use information by adding the six chemicals, all of which are involved in the production of biodiesel. These chemicals will still be subject to other CDR reporting requirements, on facility and manufacturing and import volume information.

The affected chemicals and their Chemical Abstract Services Registry Numbers (CASRNs) are:

  • Fatty acids, C14-18 and C16-18 unsaturated, methyl esters (CASRN 67762-26-9);
  • Fatty acids, C16-18 and C-18 unsaturated, methyl esters (CASRN 67762-38-3);
  • Fatty acids, canola oil, methyl esters (CASRN 129828-16-6);
  • Fatty acids, corn oil, methyl esters (CASRN 515152-40-6);
  • Fatty acids, tallow, methyl esters (CASRN 61788-61-2); and
  • Soybean oil, methyl esters (CASRN 67784-80-9).

This partial exemption was granted as part of the petition process for “Low Current Interest” chemicals developed in 2003. Under this process, EPA considers the “totality of information” available for a particular substance and certain considerations, defined in the regulations, including the availability of other risk screening information and whether potential risks of the substance are adequately managed, in determining the agency’s “current assessment of the need for collecting CDR processing and use information.” The agency stresses that this process is not necessarily based on potential risks, and interest may increase in the future, in which case the agency would reconsider the applicability of the partial exemption.

In this case, EPA determined that it had low current interest in processing and use information for the six substances. The analyses (“Review Reports”) for the individual chemicals are available at docket number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2014-0809.

These chemicals were requested to be added to the partial exemption list in a petition submitted by a biofuels industry group in October 2014. EPA initially granted the petition in a Direct Final Rule published in January 2015, but withdrew the rule in March 2015 after receiving an adverse comment to the Direct Final Rule. The agency proposed to make the same additions to the partial exemption list in a Proposed Rule published July 22, 2015; the Final Rule announced today makes no changes from that Proposed Rule. However, the Final Rule does discuss comments submitted by the petitioner arguing that these biodiesel chemicals should be treated similarly to comparable “petroleum process” chemicals, which the EPA has designated partially exempt because the agency “believes worker exposure is diminished.” The agency made “no determination” on the petitioner’s argument that the biodiesel chemicals should be partially exempt because they share similar manufacturing conditions, properties, and uses as petroleum process chemicals, since the issue is “moot” as the agency is now granting equivalent partial exemption under the “Low Current Interest” process.

The EPA signed the Final Rule on March 22, 2016. The partial exemption goes into effect when the rule is published in the Federal Register, which should be well before the June 1 start of the 2016 CDR reporting cycle.