On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a framework for its approach to reviewing new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and significant new uses of existing PFAS. Stakeholders in sectors such as food packaging, textiles, semiconductors, and aerospace industries that continue to rely on PFAS compounds should take note. In general, EPA’s approval of new PFAS or new significant uses of existing PFAS may require additional testing — with substantial additional testing in some cases.
On May 31, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule designed to tighten confidential business information (CBI) designations in submissions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA has touted this rule as providing “transparency” and providing the agency leeway to make “more health and safety data publicly available more quickly.” Given the sensitive nature of the data often provided in TSCA submission, regulated entities should carefully consider the provisions of the new rule and what steps they must take to ensure that confidential information is not subject to public disclosure.
On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a prepublication version of a proposed rule instituting reforms to EPA’s regulations implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA maintains a TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory, which lists all chemical substances known to be in commerce in the United States. Under TSCA, manufacturers and importers must submit a premanufacture notice for a new chemical substance unless an exemption applies (e.g., research and development). EPA must complete its risk determination for the new chemical substance before manufacture or import may commence. The proposed rule now makes clear that EPA must complete its risk determination on 100% of new chemical substances or approve an exemption notice before the associated product can enter the market, which aligns with amendments to TSCA made in 2016.
On April 20, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule seriously restricting the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride. EPA is exercising its authority under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which allows the agency to impose such prohibitions on chemical substances that it determines, following a risk evaluation, to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Methylene chloride is most commonly used as a solvent in adhesives and sealants, automotive products, and paint and coating removers, and this rule could affect, among others, the automotive, pharmaceutical, and chemical manufacturing sectors.
On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft “National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution” that could have serious implications for the regulated community, including the packaging industry, retailers, plastic manufacturers, solid waste management facilities, and recycling facilities, among others. According to the draft strategy, EPA is seeking to eliminate the release of plastic and other waste from land-based sources into the environment by 2040 through the following objectives: reducing pollution during plastic production, improving postuse materials management, preventing trash and micro/nano plastics from entering waterways, and removing escaped trash from the environment. Within these objectives EPA identified various research and regulatory actions under consideration. Among the regulatory actions under consideration, EPA signaled it was exploring new rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act for advanced recycling facilities that use pyrolysis to process recovered feedstocks into recycled plastics. The agency also called for ratification of the Basel Convention, which the United States agreed to in the 1990s but failed to ratify, as another approach to addressing international plastic waste.
On November 16, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to raise its current Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) fees, some of which would be more than doubled. This supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking modifies EPA’s proposal from January 11, 2021, which then aimed to increase the TSCA fees largely for inflation adjustment. TSCA allows EPA to collect fees from manufacturers, including importers, for the agency’s activities under TSCA Sections 4, 5, 6, and 14. Under the TSCA, EPA is required to adjust the fees “as necessary” every three years. In 2018, EPA promulgated a fee rule in 40 CFR part 700, subpart C, and set the current fees pursuant to that rule.
On Thursday, September 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for chemical substances that are the subject of premanufacture notices and associated TSCA orders prohibiting manufacturers from undertaking significant new uses. (more…)
On July 18, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule updating the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to identify five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) added to the TRI pursuant to the framework set by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA). (more…)
On March 16, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notified the fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) industry in a letter that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) could be formed in HDPE containers or similar plastics as a byproduct, which may trigger notification requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and be a violation of TSCA as contamination. (more…)
As part of its continued focus on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added four PFAS substances to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list, including PFBS (perfluorobutane sulfonic acid) and potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate as well as two compounds listed at by their chemical identifier numbers — CASRN 65104-45-2 and CASRN 203743-03-7. (more…)