The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a plan for implementing the new responsibilities conferred upon it by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which effected the first significant overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act since its enactment in 1976. Highlights of this plan include the following.
New Chemicals. Effective June 22, the law requires the EPA to review and make an affirmative determination on all premanufacture notices and significant new use notices before manufacturing can commence. The EPA’s goal is to meet the applicable deadlines. For companies that submitted PMNs prior to June 22 that are currently undergoing review, the EPA will make every effort to complete its review and make a determination within the remaining time under the original deadline. However, as a legal matter, the new law effectively resets the 90-day review period.
Risk Assessments. For chemicals with risk assessments completed prior to June 22 the EPA may publish proposed and final rules consistent with the scope of those risk assessments even if they do not cover all conditions of use. The EPA’s goal is to continue to work to address identified risks from trichloroethylene, methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone, as follows: proposed rule for TCE use in spot cleaning and aerosol degreasing by early October, final rule anticipated early October 2017; proposed rule for TCE use in vapor degreasing by early December, final rule anticipated early December 2017; proposed rule for MC and NMP use in paint removers by early December, final rule anticipated early December 2017.
Risk Evaluations. A list of the first ten chemicals to be subject to risk evaluations should be published by mid-December and the scope of each assessment should be published by mid-June 2017. The first annual plan identifying chemicals for which evaluations are expected to be initiated or completed that year, the resources needed, the status of other chemicals under evaluation, and updated schedules as appropriate is due in early January 2017.
Prioritization. The EPA plans to publish by mid-December a proposed rule to establish its process and criteria for identifying high-priority chemicals for risk evaluation and low-priority chemicals, with a final rule anticipated by mid-June 2017. A proposed rule establishing the EPA’s process for evaluating the risk of high-priority chemicals is expected by mid-December and a final rule is due by mid-June 2017.
Fees. The EPA is authorized to collect fees to help defray the cost of implementing certain provisions of the law and to fully defray the cost of industry-requested risk evaluations. A proposed rule to require such fees is expected by mid-December and a final rule should be published by mid-June 2017.
Inventory. A proposed rule to require industry reporting of chemicals manufactured or processed in the previous 10 years, which will be used to designate active and inactive chemicals on the TSCA inventory of existing chemicals, will be published by mid-December, with a final rule to follow by mid-June 2017.
Mercury. An initial list of the mercury compounds now banned for export should be published by mid-September. The first inventory of mercury supply, use and trade in the U.S. (which must be updated every three years) is due to be published by April 1, 2017.