EPA Creates Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Is Accepting Nominations to Help Implement Updated TSCA
August 30, 2016 •
On August 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice for the establishment of a newly-formed Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) section 9(a) to provide advice and recommendations on the scientific basis for risk assessments, methodologies, and pollution prevention measures or approaches. Under Section 2625(o) of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is required to establish the SACC within one year of enactment. The purpose of the 14-person committee will be to provide “independent advice and expert consultation” with respect to scientific and technical aspects of issues relating to TSCA implementation.
Under the updated law, EPA is required to select representatives from science, government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and “other groups EPA determines to be advisable,” including representatives that have specific scientific expertise in the relationship of chemical exposures to women, children, and other potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations, to serve on the committee. EPA is also required under the law to convene the SACC periodically but not less frequently than once every two years. According to the notice, EPA expects the SACC to meet 3-4 times a year or as needed by the approved Designated Federal Officer.
The notice published in the Federal Register states that potentially nine of the 14 members of the SACC will be selected from interested and available members of the existing EPA Chemical Safety Advisory Committee (CSAC). The remaining five committee spots will be selected from the general public based on nominations. EPA is accepting nominations from the public and comments until Oct. 11, 2016.
EPA encourages members of the public who are involved in the manufacture, processing, distribution, disposal and/or interested in the assessment of risks involving chemical substances and mixtures to apply. EPA states that nominations should include “candidates who have demonstrated high levels of competence, knowledge, and expertise in scientific/technical fields relevant to chemical risk assessment and pollution prevention. In particular, the nominees should include representation of the following disciplines, including, but not limited to: Human health and ecological risk assessment, biostatistics, epidemiology, pediatrics, physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK), toxicology and pathology (including neurotoxicology, developmental/reproductive toxicology, and carcinogenesis), and chemical exposure to susceptible life stages and subpopulations (including women, children, and others).”
EPA is also seeking candidates who have professional experiences in government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and other groups, as the EPA Administrator determines to be advisable; candidates who have skills and experience working on committees and advisory panels; candidate who do not have financial conflicts of interest or the appearance of a loss of impartiality; and candidates who are willing to commit adequate time for the thorough review of materials provided to the committee and participate in committee meetings.
The SACC is expected to provide consultation on a number of forthcoming rulemakings EPA will be rolling out over the next several months. EPA has announced the intention of releasing proposed rules by December 2016 to 1) establish fees for certain TSCA activities, 2) prescribe the prioritization process for existing chemicals, 3) prescribe the risk assessment methodology for chemicals selected to undergo safety reviews under Section 6 of TSCA, and 4) establish the reporting requirements to “reset” the TSCA Inventory. EPA also seeks to finalize these proposed regulations by the summer of 2017 in compliance with the statutory deadlines under the Lautenberg Act.
Additionally, EPA is expected to release four risk management proposed regulations under Section 6 of TSCA — which EPA has not done since 1989 — by December 2016: trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapor degreasing, TCE in spot cleaning and aerosol spray degreasing, methylene chloride (DCM) and n-methyl pyrollidone (NMP) in paint strippers. Further, under TSCA, the reporting period for chemical data reporting (CDR) submissions closes on Sept. 30, 2016 — a process manufacturers and importers of chemical substances must go through every four years — and EPA continues to evaluate new chemical notices under Section 5 of TSCA pursuant to the new, heightened TSCA requirements. EPA has released seven determinations thus far that the new chemical substances were “not likely to present an unreasonable risk,” but Agency must continue reviewing over 300 pending PMNs in a timely manner.
Since the passage of the Lautenberg Act in June 2016, EPA has already been active gathering preliminary input from stakeholders through two public meetings held in August that outlined proposals for prioritization and risk evaluations, a consultation with stakeholders regarding potential user fees for TSCA, and opened the docket for public comment on these three topics.
For the user fee consultation, EPA asked stakeholders the following questions:
- To be able to defray 25 percent of costs of administering Sections 4, 5 and 6, and Confidential Business Information (CBI), does industry have considerations of weight amongst the three areas of fee collection?
- Does industry have thoughts on the types of factors (types of submissions, numbers of submissions, level of difficulty, etc.) that EPA should consider when structuring the fees?
- Has industry considered how to distribute payment amongst multiple manufacturers and/or processors?
- Does industry have thoughts on how to identify the whole universe of manufacturers, including importers and processors affected?
- Does industry have thoughts on how to arrive at an appropriate balance between manufacturers and processors?
Also last week, EPA published a list of mercury compounds that are prohibited from export, which it was also required to do under the Lautenberg Act within 90 days of enactment. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the statute prohibits export of: Mercury (I) chloride or calomel; mercury (II) oxide; mercury (II) sulfate; mercury (II) nitrate; and cinnabar or mercury sulphide, unless those mercury compounds are exported to member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for environmentally sound disposal, on the condition that no mercury or mercury compounds so exported are to be recovered, recycled, or reclaimed for use, or directly reused, after such export. With this substantial work load, the SACC is expected to play an active role in advising on the many regulatory proposals to come.
For more information on the panel and to submit nominations, visit reguations.gov, docket number EPA–HQ–OPPT–2016–0474. If ACA members are interested in being nominated to serve on the SACC to provide consultation for TSCA implementation, please contact ACA staff as soon as possible.
To learn more about EPA’s progress and updates on TSCA implementation, click here.
Contact ACA’s Javaneh Nekoomaram for more information.