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EPA News: Low-Priority Chemicals, Pesticide Labeling, HCFC Allowances, Advance Notice for 17 Chemicals

Thursday, August 15, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Chemicals Proposed for Low-Priority Designation

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to designate 20 chemical substances as low-priority substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Comments on the proposed designations may be submitted by Nov. 13.

The EPA published March 20 a list of 40 chemical substances that initiated the prioritization process to designate 20 chemical substances as “high-priority” for subsequent risk evaluation as well as 20 chemical substances as “low-priority.” A final designation of low-priority would mean that the risks associated with the chemical substances under scrutiny are low and risk evaluation for those substances is not warranted at this time. The EPA intends to make the supporting information for the proposed 20 high-priority substances available in the coming weeks and remains on track to finalize the designations for all 40 substances by December.

According to the agency, this action marks another major milestone under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century amendments to TSCA, which require the EPA through a variety of transparent processes to prioritize existing chemical substances for high- or low-priority designations.

EPA’s Pesticide Labeling Instructions Clash with California’s Prop 65 Requirements

The EPA has issued guidance to registrants of glyphosate to ensure clarity on labeling of the chemical on their products. The agency states that it will no longer approve product labels claiming glyphosate is known to cause cancer because it considers it “a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).” The EPA adds that California’s Proposition 65 “has led to misleading labeling requirements for products, like glyphosate, because it misinforms the public about the risks they are facing.”

Proposal to Allocate Consumption Allowances for HCFCs under Consideration

The EPA is accepting comments through Sept. 30 on a proposal to allocate production and consumption allowances for specific hydrochlorofluorocarbons, a type of ozone-depleting substance, for the years 2020 through 2029. These HCFCs may be used to service certain equipment manufactured before 2020.

The EPA is also proposing to update other requirements under the program for controlling production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances and edit the regulatory text to improve readability and clarity. These updates include revising the labeling requirements for containers of specific HCFCs; prohibiting the conversion of HCFC allowances allocated through this rulemaking into allowances for HCFCs that have already been phased out; requiring the use of an electronic reporting system for producers, importers, exporters, transformers, and destroyers of class I and class II ozone-depleting substances; revising and removing recordkeeping and reporting requirements; improving the process for petitioning to import used substances for reuse; creating a certification process for importing used and virgin substances for destruction; and restricting the sale of known illegally imported substances.

Additionally, the EPA is proposing to clarify the certification requirements for methybromide quarantine and preshipment uses, add polyurethane foam systems containing ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons to the list of nonessential products, and update the definition of “destruction” as used in the context of the production and consumption phaseout and remove obsolete provisions.

Imports of 17 Chemical Substances Could Require Advance Notice

The EPA is accepting comments through Sept. 13 on a proposed rule that would require persons who intend to manufacture (including import) or process any of 17 specified chemical substances for an activity designated as a significant new use by this rule to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The substances at issue are used as industrial coatings, oilfield surfactants, water treatment additives, catalysts, intermediate chemicals, cement components, and solvents in vapor degreasing and vapor cleaning, as well as for polymer applications and destructive uses.

Under this rule, imports, manufacturing, and processing of these substances for a significant new use could not be commenced until the EPA has conducted a review of the advance notice, made an appropriate determination, and taken such actions as are required with that determination.

Importers would have to certify that shipments of these substances comply with all applicable rules and orders under the Toxic Substances Control Act, including any SNUR requirements. In addition, any persons who export or intend to export any of these substances on or after Sept. 13 would be subject to the export notification provisions of 15 USC 2611(b) and have to comply with the export notification requirements in 40 CFR part 707, subpart D.

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