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Tag Archives: Toxic Substances Control Act

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 …

S.847: The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Senator Lautenberg:This isn’t a reorganization of the way we function here. It is to be another version of TSCA, far less harmful but having a law that does cover the bases.

Introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) on 04/14/2011, S. 847, the "Safe Chemicals Act of 2011", is the third bill introduced in the last two years with the intent of reforming and strengthening the Toxic Substances Cotrol Act . S. 3209, the "Safe Chemicals Act of 2010", also introduced by Senator Lautenberg, and H.R. 5820, the "Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010", introduced by Representives Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-1st) and Henry Waxman (D-CA-30th), were intoduced during the 2nd Session of the 111th Congress, but died in committee when the 111th Congress adjourned sine die.

As was noted by a witness at a hearing of the Senate Environment and Publicworks Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health Subcommittee on 02/04/2011

. . . while TSCA was an important step when it was first passed in 1976, it is the only major environmental statute that has not been reauthorized since its initial passage. TSCA is clearly showing its age and its limitations.

A recent article in Pediatrics discusses the limitations of TSCA in greater detail than is possible in this posting.

S. 847 would amend TSCA in several ways.

1- Manufacturers and processors would be required to

submit the minimum data set for the chemical substance to the Administrator–


    `(A) for new chemical substances, concurrent with the notice required under

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 …