According to a program audit report from the US EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency has taken steps to improve public access to information submitted under the TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule.
The report found the CDR rule to have been “largely implemented as intended”, but that the reporting scheme had opportunities for improvement.
Under the reporting scheme, the EPA collects information every four years about the types, quantities and uses of substances in commerce to inform its risk evaluation priorities.
Included in the issues identified by the report was a need for improved “transparency and accessibility” of data collected under the CDR rule. Stakeholders interviewed by the OIG complained that the publicly available database “lacks functionality for public use of information”. EPA staff also agreed the system is “not user-friendly, and extracting data is a grueling process for anyone not familiar” with it.
Since communicating these concerns to agency staff, the OIG report states that the EPA has added additional options for accessing the data, including Excel versions of data as well as a ‘data dictionary’ in order to better enable user navigation.
The OIG report states that this improved accessibility “helps the EPA to increase the agency’s ability to effectively provide public access to CDR information – which ultimately enhances the public’s ability to obtain exposure-related information about chemicals in US commerce”.
As required by TSCA, the EPA uses CDR data to help assess the risks of chemicals in US commerce.
Posted by Helen Gillespie