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EPA Publishes TSCA Formulation Documents, Asbestos Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 1 released the first 10 chemicals' problem formulation documents, EPA's systemic review approach document, and a significant new use rule (SNUR) proposal enabling the agency to prevent new uses of asbestos, all for public comment. The latter is the first such action on asbestos ever proposed, according to EPA.

The SNUR, for certain uses of asbestos (including asbestos-containing goods), would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing, and importing or processing of asbestos. This review process would give EPA the opportunity to evaluate the intended use of asbestos and, when necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the use.

"These actions provide the American people with transparency and an opportunity to comment on how EPA plans to evaluate the ten chemicals undergoing risk evaluation, select studies, and use the best available science to ensure chemicals in the marketplace are safe," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. "At the same time, we are moving forward to take important, unprecedented action on asbestos."

The problem formulation documents refine the scope of risk evaluations for the first 10 chemicals selected under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act; the documents "are an important interim step prior to completing and publishing the final risk evaluations by December 2019. They clarify the chemical uses that EPA expects to evaluate and describe how EPA expects to conduct the evaluations," according to the agency's news release. Comments are due in 45 days, once the documents are published in the Federal Register (Docket: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0210).

Comments on the asbestos SNUR are due in 60 days upon publication (Docket: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0159).

Comments may be submitted to each of the chemicals’ respective dockets:

  • Asbestos: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0736
  • 1-Bromopropane: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0741
  • Carbon Tetrachloride: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0733
  • 1,4-Dioxane: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0723
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD): EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0735
  • Methylene Chloride: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0742
  • N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP): EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0743
  • Pigment Violet 29 (Anthra[2,1,9-def:6,5,10-d’e’f’]diisoquinoline-1,3,8,10(2H,9H)-tetrone): EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0725
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE): EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0737
  • Perchloroethylene: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0732

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act required EPA to select the first 10 chemicals to undergo risk evaluations; the chemicals were announced on Dec. 16, 2016. As required, EPA issued corresponding scope documents on June 22, 2017, for these chemicals, which describe the scope of the risk evaluation to be conducted, including the hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations that the Agency expects to consider. The problem formulation documents EPA issued June 1 refine those scope documents.

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