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Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA Inspector General’s Report

The task of the Inspectors General of Federal agencies is to examine "all actions of a government agency or military organization. Conducting audits and investigations, either independently or in response to reports of wrongdoing, the OIG ensures that the agency’s operations are in compliance with the law and general established policies of the government. Audits conducted by the OIG are intended to ensure the effectiveness of security procedures, or to discover the possibility of misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency’s operation."

At the end of 2011, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted Report No. 12-P-0162,"EPA Needs to Manage Nanomaterial Risks More Effectively" to the reports section of its website.

The OIG, in the Introduction to the report, states that the

. . .  purpose of this review was to determine how effectively the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is managing the human health and environmental risks of nanomaterials.

The report notes that

EPA has the statutory authority to regulate nanomaterials. . . . EPA can regulate nanomaterials during their manufacture, formulation, distribution in commerce, use, and/or disposal through the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) . . . nanomaterials in pesticides through the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) . . . . EPA can regulate nanomaterials released into the environment using the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; or the Resource Conservation …

EPA Extends comment period

Wednesday’s Federal Register carried a notice from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extending the comment period for proposed methods of collecting information regarding the use of nanoscale materials in pesticides published in the Federal Register of June 17, 2011. The original deadline for submitting comments was July 18, 2011. The deadline for submission has been extended to august 17, 2011.

The 30 day extension was requested by four commenters – Croplife America, a trade group repsenting " the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States", the American Chemical Council, the Chemical Producers and Distributors Association, a trade group "representing the interests of generic pesticide registrants, with a membership that includes manufacturers, formulators, and distributors of pesticide products", and theInternational Center for Technology Assessment, "a non-profit, bi-partisan organization committed to providing the public with full assessments and analyses of technological impacts on society". The comments may beviewed on Regulations.gov.

Information on submitting comments is available from either the original notice or the notice published on Wednesday.…

EPA Requests Public Comment on Obtaining Information Regarding Nanomaterials in Pesticides

On June 17, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it was seeking "comment on several possible appraoches for obtaining information about what nanoscale materials are present in registered pesticide products. . .  . and its potential effects on humans or the environment. . . ."

Under one approach to collecting this information, EPA would use the authority granted to it by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide,and Rodenticide Act  (FIFRA) to require applicants to "provide any factual information of which [the applicant] is aware regarding unreasonable adverse effects of the pesticide on man and the environment". If EPA adopts this approach, it would require the inclusion of "such information with applications for registrations of pesticides or pesiticide products containing ‘nanoscale materials’".

Under a different section of FIFRA, EPA would gather information using Data Call-In notices.

EPA is required to collect information regarding pesticides under section 3(a) of FIFRA. Using the information collected, EPA can then determine

1) the validity of the products claims

2) that labelling complies with FIFRA requirements

3) that the pesticide or pesticide product will not cause unreasonably adverse harm to humans or the environment.

EPA "believes that certain information concerning pesticide ingredients" – in this case, nanoscale materials, defined by EPA as (1) between 1 and 100 nanometers, (2) " exhibit unique and novel properties compared to larger particlesof the same material" and (3) has been manufactured or engineered at the nanoscale level to take advantage of those unique or novel properties …

EPA Releases SNURS Affecting Multi-Walled and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

In the Federal Register for Friday 09/17/2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), acting under the authority granted to it under section 5(a)(2) of the TSCA, issued as a final rule Significant New Use Rules (SNURS) affecting two chemical substances identified as generic multi-walled and single-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs and SWCNTs respectively). These SNURs are applicable to manufacturers, importers, and processors, who will be required to notify EPA at least 90 days in advance if they intend to use these substances "for a use that is designated as a significant new use by this final rule. . . . EPA believes that this action is necessary because these chemical substances may be hazardous to human health and the environment".

This final rule is the culmination of a process that has taken over a year. EPA had issued a direct final rule in the Federal Register issue of 06/24/2009. This direct final rule affected several chemical substances, including the MWCNTs and the SWCNTs, that had been the subject of various consent decrees issued by EPA. The language of the final rule affecting the MWCNTs read as follows:

Sec.  721.10155  Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (generic).

    (a) Chemical substance and significant new uses subject to reporting. (1) The chemical substance identified generically as multi- walled carbon nanotubes (PMN P-08-177) is subject to reporting under this section for the significant new uses described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.     (2) The significant new uses are:     (i) Protection in the workplace. Requirements as specified in Sec.  …

EPA Proposes TSCA Inventory Reporting Modifications

In the Federal Register issue of 08/13/2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released for public comment a proposed rule that would, if adopted, significantly change the TSCA Inventory Update Reporting (IUR).

The first part of the notice, "Supplementary Information", explains the proposed changes to 40 CFR Parts 704, 710, and 711. The text of the proposed rule follows the Supplementary Information.

In the Supplementary Information, EPA states that it is proposing modifications to the IUR

 to meet four primary goals:     1. To tailor the information collected to better meet the Agency’s overall information needs.     2. To increase its ability to effectively provide public access to the information.     3. To obtain new and updated information relating to potential exposures to a subset of chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory.     4. To improve the usefulness of the information reported. EPA believes that expanding the range of chemical substances for which comprehensive information is to be reported and adjusting the specific reported information, the method and

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frequency of collecting the information, and CBI requirements will accomplish these goals.

Reading the Supplemental Information reveals a fifth, unstated goal – the creation of uniform reporting standards that will provide EPA with the information it needs to "identify and take follow-up action on chemical substances that may pose potential risks to human health or the environment" in a more efficent and timely manner, cutting the amount of time EPA staff will need to spend reviewing submitted information, determining if EPA action is required …

EPA Reopens Comment Period for Proposed SNUR for MWCNT

In a notice published in the Federal register on July 28, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was adding new information to its public docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0686 and was reopening the comment period for  a proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTS) first published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2010.

The proposed rule requires "persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process the substance" – described elsewhere in the notice as "multi-walled carbon nanotubes(generic)" to "be used as an additive/filler for polymer composites and support media for industrial catalysts" – "for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity". This would give EPA time to assess "risks that may be presented by the intended uses and, if appropriate, to regulate the proposed use before it occurs."

Information regarding submission of comments will be found in the original notice of February 3, 2010.

The "Significant New Use" for the MWCNTS (generic) are described in the Feb. 3, 2010 notice as

certain changes from the use scenario described in the PMN could result in increased exposures, thereby constituting a “significant new use.” EPA has determined that activities proposed as a “significant new use” satisfy the two requirements stipulated in Sec.  721.170(c)(2), i.e., these significant new use activities, “(i) are different from those described in the premanufacture notice for the substance, including any amendments, deletions, and additions of activities …

EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rules for Single and Multi Walled Carbon Nanotubes

On Friday, 11/06, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a "Proposed Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances" in the Federal Register (74 FR 57430). The "certain chemical substances" that the new use rules would affect are multi-walled carbon nanotubes and single-walled carbon nanotubes. This would amend 40 CFR Pt. 721 by adding Pts 721.1055 and 721.1056. The text of these new parts can be found at the end of this entry.

The  proposed SNURs on these substances are based on and consistent with the provisions in the underlying consent orders. The proposed SNURs designate as a “significant new use” the absence of the protective measures required in the corresponding consent orders. This action would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process either of these two substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs.

 

Information on submitting comments may be found in the link to the proposed rule. Comments must be filed on or by December 7, 2009.

The EPA had issued a direct final rule  regarding SWCNs and MWCNs in the Federal Register of June 24, 2009 (74 FR 29982), but this was withdrawn after EPA received notice that adverse comments were going to be filed.

As explained in …

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