Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cadmium to be Added to Priority Testing List Under Toxic Substances Control Act

The TSCA InterAgency Testing Committee (ITC) has added cadmium and 103 other cadmium compounds to the Priority Testing List.  The action came in the 68th semiannual report to the EPA Administrator by the ITC.  According to the ITC, the action is necessary because EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission believe there is reason for concern about cadmium in children's toys, jewelry, and a variety of other consumer products.

The ITC report was published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2011.

The main concerns identified for cadmium include developmental effects in animals such as fetal teratogenicity.  Conclusive evidence of harm in humans has not been seen, but the animal effects led to the ITC's decision to include cadmium on their list for further assessment.  This action in the US mirrors to some extent a similar action in the EU in the spring.

The ITC list is a rolling list, and several chemicals were removed for various reasons.  Currently the priority list "includes 2 alkylphenols, 16 chemicals with insufficient dermal absorption rate data, 178 HPV Challenge Program orphan chemicals, and cadmium and 103 cadmium compounds."

The full ITC report can be viewed on the web site.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Washington State Adopts Children's Safe Product Rule to Control Chemicals of Concern to Children

Washington State has adopted a new rule implementing the state's 3-year old Children's Safe Product Act law.  Amongst other things, the rule requires companies to report all children's products manufactured or imported for sale in Washington that contain any of 66 "Chemicals of High Concern to Children" (CHCC) that exceed the "Practical Quantification Limit" (PQL).  The PQL is defined as "the lowest concentration that can be reliably measured within specified limits of precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, and comparability during routine laboratory operating conditions."

The rule provides for a phase-in period for reporting different categories of products and the size of the manufacturer and size of the products.  Within 12 months, the largest companies who are making products that are likely to come in contact with the skin of children or be placed in a child's mouth, must make their first report.  First reporting extends out to as long as 84 months (7 years) for "tiny" companies making products with limited potential for contact with children's skin. After the first notice date, reporting must occur annually on the anniversary of the first notice date.

The list of 66 Chemicals of High Concern to Children includes many of the same chemicals usually seen on such lists, including formaldehyde, benzene, Bisphenol A, many phthalates, brominated flame retardants, PFOS, and heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and molybdenum.

Information on the new rule can be found on the Washington State Department of Ecology web site.

A PDF of the full rule can be downloaded and read here, including the list of 66 CHCCs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

EPA Issues its IUR Rule - Sets New Submission Period!

Several weeks ago I noted that OMB had finally finished its review of the Inventory Update Rule (IUR), and today EPA announced that published the rule.  This new rule, now called the "Chemical Data Reporting" rule (CDR), increases "the type and amount of information" EPA collects from manufacturers on commercial chemicals.  The "improved" rule also "requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA" in an attempt to streamline the reporting process.  It also limits the confidentiality claims that can be made by reporting companies.

According to EPA's press release:
The CDR rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory update rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data, and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. The improved information will allow EPA to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals. 
Companies will have to start reporting under the new requirements during the next data submission period, which has been set for February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.  EPA had suspended the previous reporting period last May when it became clear that the OMB review would not be complete in time for manufacturers to comply.

Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012. 

The full Chemical Data Reporting rule can be reviewed on EPA's IUR web page.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Canada to Ban Four Categories of Chemicals

Canada issued a proposed regulation in the Canada Gazette on July 23, 2011 designed to essentially ban four groups of chemicals.  According to the proposal, the four chemicals are Benzenamine, N-phenyl-, reaction products with styrene and 2,4,4-trimethylpentene (BNST), short-chain chlorinated alkanes, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) and tributyltins (TBTs) for non-pesticidal uses.  All four were assessed in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999 (CEPA), which concluded that all four may be harmful to the environment.  Health Canada determined that short-chain chlorinated alkanes also constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health. 

Interestingly, three of the chemical classes are already no longer manufactured or used in Canada.  So the main impact will be on the ban of BNST, which is an antioxidant additive in vehicle engine oils and industrial lubricants.  Under the regulations, there would be a two-year transition period in which BNST could still be used for specific uses so that industry has time to conduct research to find alternatives.  The transition period would also allow manufacturers to gain product performance certification for any product modifications using BNST subsitutes.

For all four chemical classes Environment Canada and Health Canada believe risk management measures are necessary to prevent harm to the environment and human health.  Also, they determined that all four "meet the criteria for persistence and bioaccumulation potential as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations."

The regulations as proposed would also modify existing restrictions on hexachlorobenezene (HCB), which is commonly found as an impurity in chlorinated solvents and other manufactured products.  HCB would be moved from Part 2 to Part 1 of the schedule of toxic substances, which would put it on a track for full banning.

The public may provide comment on the draft regulations until October 6, 2011.  More information is available in the Canada Gazette online.