Wednesday, May 12, 2010

EPA sends new chemical "action plans" to OMB for review

EPA continues to try to make the "old TSCA" work while Congress and stakeholders work on developing a "new TSCA." The "Safe Chemicals Act of 2010" was introduced in the Senate last month, with a companion bill introduced in the House. While it's unclear when or even if some form of the bills will become law, EPA is determined to aggressively use the authority it believes it has in the old Toxic Substances Control Act.

One activity has been the introduction of "action plans" on specific chemicals. The latest two plans have now been sent to the White House Office of Management & Budget for review. The two plans - one for nonylphenol and its ethoxylates (a common laundry detergent chemical) and the other for hexabromocyclododecane (a brominated flame retardant) - were sent to OMB this week. It's unclear how long OMB will take to review them, but EPA has said it plans to issue them shortly.

The nonylphenol plan could be particularly contentious as industry may have to do substantial testing and yet still have to phase-out the chemical for use. A trade association representing textile rental services has already proposed a phaseout by 2016 in lieu of an EPA test rule. The hexabromocyclododecane is important because it joins other brominated flame retardants on the potential chopping block.

So expect these two action plans to get through OMB quickly and be released as early as the end of this month. Meanwhile, EPA is also working on action plans for benzidine dyes and pigments, diisocyantes and siloxanes. These are in addition to the actions plans already released for bisphenol A; multiple phthalates; certain perfluorinated chemicals; penta, octa, and decabromodiphenyl ethers; and short-chain chlorinated paraffins.

So EPA pushes forward while Congress decides whether it can act on the bills already introduced.

No comments: