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By Melissa Campbell

On September 29, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Senate Bill (CSB) 193 which amends California’s Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service (HESIS). Taking effect January 1, 2016, this law is the first in the country that requires companies that manufacture and distribute toxic chemicals to provide a government agency information about where those chemicals are being shipped. Companies need to provide HESIS with the names and addresses of businesses and places of employment in California that have purchased the substances in question. The quantity of the chemical purchased must be provided, even if it is part of mixture.

Along with these advantages come limitations. Companies will provide HESIS with names and addresses of businesses and places of employment in California that have purchased the substances in question. The information provided to HESIS in regards to these hazardous substances will only need to be provided under two conditions: upon request, or when there is new scientific or medical evidence indicating that the substance may pose new or previously unrecognized occupational hazards.

These hazards may also not even be detailed on the Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s). For example, the 13th Report on Carcinogens (RoC) has recently described particular substances as being carcinogenic. However, some companies that provide SDS’s for these substances have failed to provide this information. For example, the 13th RoC describes 1-Bromopropane as being “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.” SDS’s currently obtained online do not contain any information about the carcinogenicity of this chemical. Also, the 13th RoC states that o-Toluidine is a “known” carcinogen while SDS’s label it as a “possible” carcinogen. Similarly, ChemSec Substitute It Now (SIN) list recently added 28 chemicals that have newly identified hazards. Endocrine disruption has ten new chemicals listed under this hazard while the toxicological information on an SDS does not even include this. Another limitation of this bill is that information will not be published publicly unless another law requires such disclosure. It will also not apply to chemicals used in consumer products or to other sellers of these chemicals.

Although the lists of limitations may seem extensive, this law will allow HESIS to work with employers to find safer substitutes for hazardous chemicals and develop and issue hazard alerts. How effective this law will be remains unseen. However, now employers and employees have a legally enforceable law to allow questions to be asked on where certain hazardous chemicals are being used in California.

REFERENCES:

Grossman, Elizabeth. "Expanding the Right to Know: California Workers Gain Additional Access to Workplace Toxics Information as New Hazards Emerge." Web log post. Science Blogs. Science Blogs, LLC, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2014/10/13/anding-the-right-to-know-california-workers-gain-additional-access-to-workplace-toxics-information-as-new-hazards-emerge/

"Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service." California Department of Public Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/hesis/Pages/default.aspx

"National Toxicology Program." 13th Report on Carcinogens (RoC). US Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/roc/roc13/index.html

S. 193-Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service, Chapter 830 Cong., California Legislative Information (2014) N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB193&search_keywords=

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By John J. Kowalski, CHMM

Among the most recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are the following:

On June 18, 2014, EPA published a direct final rule to modify significant new use rules (SNURs) for 36 chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). These SNURs were previously issued using generic chemical names. This action replaced the generic chemical names with specific chemical names and Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CASRNs), as this information is now publicly available. However, the reporting requirements for these substances did not change. These SNURs will continue to require persons to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture or processing of a subject chemical substance for any activity designated by these SNURs as a significant new use. According to EPA, the receipt of such notices allows the Agency to assess risks that may be presented by the intended uses and, if appropriate, to regulate the proposed uses before they occur. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 34634:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-18/pdf/2014-14259.pdf

Also on June 18, 2014, EPA published a notice announcing its receipt of test data for the chemical substance D-gluco-Heptonic acid, monosodium salt, (2.xi.)-, CASRN 31138-65-5. These data were submitted pursuant to a test rule issued by the Agency under TSCA Section 4. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 34740: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-18/pdf/2014-14245.pdf

On June 19, 2014, EPA published a direct final rule to amend the list of chemical substances that are partially exempt from reporting under the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule. With this direct final rule, the following chemical substances were exempted from reporting of the information described at 40 CFR 711.15(b)(4):

  • 1,3-Propanediol, CASRN 504-63-2;
  • Oils, palm kernel, CASRN 8023-79-8; and
  • Bentonite, acid-leached, CASRN 70131-50-9.

For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 35096: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-19/pdf/2014-14367.pdf

On July 7, 2014, EPA published two notices of receipt of PMNs and notices of commencement of manufacture or import (NOCs). The first of these two notices covered the period from May 23, 2013 to September 30, 2013. It reported the receipt of 249 PMNS and 63 NOCs. The second of these two notices covered the period from October 1, 2013 to January 30, 2014. It reported the receipt of 248 PMNS and 106 NOCs. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 38288 (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-07/pdf/2014-15760.pdf) and 79 Fed. Reg. 38302: (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-07/pdf/2014-15764.pdf), respectively.

Also on July 7, 2014, EPA published a notice announcing its receipt of test data for the chemical substance 1-Decene, sulfurized, CASRN 72162-15-3. These data were submitted pursuant to a test rule issued by the Agency under TSCA Section 4.

For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 38314: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-07/pdf/2014-15762.pdf

On July 8, 2014, EPA published a direct final rule to promulgate SNURs for 13 chemical substances which were the subject of PMNs. Three of these chemical substances are subject to TSCA Section 5(e) consent orders issued by EPA. This action requires persons who intend to manufacture or process any of these 13 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. According to EPA, the required notification will provide the Agency with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 38464: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-08/pdf/2014-15874.pdf

On July 9, 2014, EPA published a direct final rule to promulgate SNURs for 43 chemical substances which were the subject of PMNs. Six of these chemical substances are subject to TSCA Section 5(e) consent orders issued by EPA. This action requires persons who intend to manufacture or process any of these 43 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. According to EPA, the required notification will provide the Agency with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 39268:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-09/pdf/2014-15774.pdf

On September 2, 2014, EPA finalized SNURs for 36 chemical substances which were the subject of PMNs. 17 of these chemical substances are subject to TSCA Section 5(e) consent orders issued by EPA. These SNURs were originally proposed on February 25, 2013. This action requires persons who intend to manufacture or process any of these 36 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this final rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. According to EPA, the required notification provides the Agency with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 51899: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-02/pdf/2014-20783.pdf

On September 4, 2014, EPA withdrew SNURs for six chemical substances which were the subject of PMNs. The Agency published these SNURs, using direct final rulemaking procedures, on July 8 and 9, 2014. EPA subsequently received notices of intent to submit adverse comments on these rules. Therefore, the Agency withdrew these SNURs, as required under the expedited SNUR rulemaking process. EPA intends to publish proposed SNURs for these six chemical substances under separate notice and comment procedures in the near future. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 52563: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-04/pdf/2014-21091.pdf

On September 16, 2014, EPA published two notices of receipt of PMNs and NOCs. The first of these two notices covered the period from February 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014. It reported the receipt of 155 PMNS and 156 NOCs. The second of these two notices covered the period from April 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014. It reported the receipt of 169 PMNS and 89 NOCs. For additional information, see 79 Fed. Reg. 55450: (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/pdf/2014-22039.pdf) and 79 Fed. Reg. 55460: (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-16/pdf/2014-22037.pdf), respectively.