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by John J. Kowalski, CHMM

On December 19, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) published, in the Federal Register, an initial list of ten chemical substances that will be subject to risk evaluations under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA). Section 6 requires EPA to "initiate risk evaluations on ten chemical substances drawn from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan" and to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These ten chemical substances are listed below:

1. 1,4-Dioxane;

2. 1-Bromopropane;

3. Asbestos;

4. Carbon Tetrachloride;

5. Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD);

6. Methylene Chloride;

7. N-Methylpyrrolidone;

8. Pigment Violet 29;

9. Trichloroethylene; and

10. Tetrachloroethylene.

EPA’s publication of this list initiated the risk evaluation process for the listed chemical substances. Within six months from the date of publication, that is, by June 19, 2017, the Agency will issue a 'scoping document' for each listed substance that will include information regarding the "hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations" it expects to consider in the risk evaluation. EPA has also established a 'docket' for each listed substance; this will record each risk evaluation and facilitate receipt, by the Agency, of information that will be useful in the evaluation.

Although EPA unofficially announced the identities of the ten substances listed above on November 29, 2016, it was the publication in the Federal Register that triggered statutory deadlines to issue scoping documents within six months and to complete risk evaluations within three years. These evaluations will determine whether the listed substances present 'unreasonable' risks to humans and the environment. If it is determined that a substance presents an 'unreasonable' risk, the Agency must take action to mitigate that risk within two years.


Environmental Protection Agency. “Designation of Ten Chemical Substances for Initial Risk Evaluations Under the Toxic Substances Control Act.” Federal Register 81 (19 December 2016): 91927-91929.

by John J. Kowalski, CHMM 

On December 16, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) published a proposed rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to regulate certain uses of Trichloroethylene (TCE). More specifically, the Agency proposed:

  • to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities;
  • to prohibit commercial use of TCE for aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities; and
  • to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain and to keep limited records.

Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before February 14, 2017. Meanwhile, EPA has stated that it intends to issue a separate proposed rule for TCE use in vapor degreasing.


Environmental Protection Agency. “Trichloroethylene; Regulation of Certain Uses Under TSCA § 6(a).” Federal Register 81 (16 December 2016): 91592-91624.

by John J. Kowalski, CHMM

On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule to implement the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of TSCA Title VI is to reduce exposures to formaldehyde by reducing its emissions from composite wood products, thereby resulting in benefits from 'avoided adverse health effects.' 

The final rule includes, in addition to formaldehyde emission standards, provisions relating to "testing requirements, product labeling, chain of custody documentation and other recordkeeping requirements, enforcement, import certification, and product inventory sell-through provisions, including a product stockpiling prohibition". It also establishes "a third-party certification program for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard"; and, it includes "procedures for the accreditation of third-party certifiers and general requirements for accreditation bodies and third-party certifiers." The final rule, which will be codified at 40 CFR Part 770, is effective February 10, 2017.


Environmental Protection Agency. “Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products.” Federal Register 81 (12 December 2016): 89674-89743.

by John J. Kowalski, CHMM

Section 8(a)(6) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended, requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) to undertake a negotiation process aimed at developing a rule to limit TSCA Section 8(a) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements "for manufacturers of any inorganic byproduct chemical substances, when such byproduct chemical substances are subsequently recycled, reused, or reprocessed." On December 15, 2016, EPA published a notice stating its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee. As proposed by the Agency, the committee would consist of 'representatives of parties with a definable stake' in the outcome of the negotiation process. Its purpose would be to conduct discussions in a good faith attempt to reach a consensus on proposed regulatory language that would modify the existing CDR requirements pertaining to inorganic byproduct chemical substances. "EPA anticipates that few substantive changes would be needed to any proposed rule resulting from the negotiated rulemaking process."

As stated in its notice of intent, the Agency expects that the convening meeting of the negotiated rulemaking committee will be held in March of 2017 and that the work of the committee will conclude by September of 2017. The objective of the negotiated rulemaking process is to develop and publish a proposed rule by June 22, 2019. In the event that a proposed rule is developed through the negotiated rulemaking process, a final rule resulting from this process must be issued by December 22, 2019. However, in the case where a consensus cannot be reached and there is no agreement upon which to base a proposal, EPA has stated that it has no further statutory obligation to issue a proposal or a final rule.

The Agency is seeking comments on the extent to which the issues, interests, negotiated rulemaking committee representatives, and procedures described in its notice of intent are adequate and appropriate. Such comments must be received on or before January 17, 2017.


Environmental Protection Agency. “Chemical Data Reporting; Requirements for Inorganic Byproduct Chemical Substances; Notice of Intent To Negotiate.” Federal Register 81 (15 December 2016): 90843-90848.