Thursday, May 27, 2010

EPA Will Start Reviewing Confidentiality Claims for TSCA Chemicals

The USEPA has announced in a Federal Register notice that it initiate "a general practice of reviewing confidentiality claims for chemical identities in health and safety studies, and in data from health and safety studies, submitted under TSCA."

The policy will become effective August 25, 2010 and will include both newly submitted claims and existing claims. The policy takes advantage of Section 14(b) of TSCA, in which the data in health and safety studies is not supposed to be held confidential. If EPA decides to make these studies public they would still "not disclose processes used in the manufacturing or processing of a chemical substance or mixture or, in the case of a mixture, the release of data disclosing the portion of the mixture comprised by any of the chemical substances in the mixture." The problem is that sometimes the chemical identity has contained confidential process information. But where a chemical identity does not explicitly contain process information or reveal portions of a mixture, "EPA expects to find that the information would clearly not be entitled to confidential treatment."

This is yet another step EPA is taking to improve the transparency of chemical information. Earlier EPA determined that some information previously held confidential would no longer be, and they also put the public portion of the TSCA Inventory on the internet for free availability for all (previously you had to purchase access through private vendors).

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