EPA Denies Requests for Chemical Confidentiality

Last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated it would reject confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies (see our previous post: EPA to reject confidentiality claims).

EPA says it already notified five companies that the identities of 14 chemicals associated with a number of health and safety studies submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and claimed as confidential are not eligible for confidential treatment.  The chemicals were unnamed.

More chemical names connected with health and safety studies will be released in the future.

This newsflash is of particular interest for those that manufacture (defined by statute to include import) and/or process chemical substances and mixtures subject to TSCA (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.).

“The public deserves access to critical health and safety information on chemicals, but if the name of the chemical is kept secret in the health and safety report, the information is of no real value to people,” said Steve Owens, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP).

Owens said the agency is committed to increasing the American people’s access to this important information.

And the caveat is…The agency plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies provided to the agency under TSCA.  The only caveat comes if and when your chemical identity contains process or mixture information that is expressly protected by law.  That will take some convincing.  And some research and legal expertise.

Timeframe: 31 days. So how long do companies have to pursue the caveat or, if not, to watch their data go public?  The last paragraph of the EPA letter sent to companies states:

“EPA will make the information available to the public on the thirty-first (31st) calendar day after the date of your receipt of this determination…”

For more information on chemical transparency initiatives in U.S. manufacturing, go to: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/transparency.html

For information on technology to manage chemical transparency initiatives in US manufacturing, try the products page on the Actio  website or try: http://www.materialdisclosure.com.