EPA Takes First Steps in Identifying Next Group of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation under TSCA

On September 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the approach it will use to identify chemicals that could be included in the next group of risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Additionally, the Agency will be looking for input from the public on which chemicals should be prioritized for risk evaluation and which chemicals may be low priorities under TSCA.

The document lays out EPA’s near-term approach for identifying potential chemicals for prioritization, the initial step in evaluating the safety of existing chemicals under TSCA. Building on the Agency’s promise to work with the public to select the next chemicals for risk evaluation, this approach reflects public input received at a December 2017 meeting and through the public docket. By December 2019, EPA must designate at least 20 chemical substances as High-Priority for risk evaluation and 20 chemical substances as Low-Priority for which risk evaluation is not currently warranted.

The document also includes a longer-term risk-based strategy for managing the larger TSCA chemical landscape which, according to the TSCA Inventory, is composed of more than 40,000 active chemicals. This longer-term approach proposes parsing chemicals into “bins” that can be used to inform multiple activities and priorities throughout EPA, including within the TSCA program. After the Federal Register notice publishes EPA will open a public docket to accept comments on this longer-term strategy, which will inform its continued development and help outline a public meeting to be held in early 2019.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will open 73 chemical-specific public dockets, one for each of the remaining chemicals on the 2014 TSCA Work Plan. Additionally, there will be a general docket open for the public to suggest chemicals for risk evaluation that are not on the Work Plan. With this action, the Agency will be providing the public an opportunity to submit use, hazard, and exposure information on these chemicals. EPA will use this data to inform TSCA prioritization and risk evaluation for these chemicals.

For details, visit epa.gov.

EPA Releases Interactive Sector Snapshots of Industry Environmental and Economic Performance

On September 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new interactive, web-based tool that provides information about the environmental and economic performance of industry sectors. Developed by EPA’s Smart Sectors Program, the sector snapshots application shows comprehensive, historical environmental and economic performance on a sector basis and allows users to visualize the data over the last 20 years.

“The sector snapshots released today show in a transparent and accessible way how a specific industry’s environmental and economic performance has changed over the last two decades,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This type of data can help the public, the regulated community, and EPA gain a common understanding of sector performance that will better inform environmental improvement strategies moving forward.”

“The Smart Sectors Program is dedicated to improving the way EPA engages with different sectors of the economy,” said EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Henry Darwin. “As the Agency pursues better environmental outcomes, it is important to present measurable, understandable data.”

The first modules to be released showcase three sectors: iron and steel, chemical manufacturing, and utilities and power generation. The program plans to release modules for other sectors participating in the Smart Sectors program on a rolling basis.

The sector snapshots tool uses public data from EPA and other federal sources. The application offers users access to information about general sector characteristics, environmental performance indicators, and economic data through interactive graphics. Users can select environmental and economic indicators individually, or paired combinations of indicators, to view trends over time.

EPA Smart Sectors is a partnership program that provides a platform to collaborate with regulated sectors and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health. To learn more about the program, visit: www.epa.gov/smartsectors.

To access the snapshots, visit: https://epa.gov/smartsectors/sector-snapshots.