For the First Time in 40 Years EPA to Put in Place a Process to Evaluate Chemicals that May Pose Risk
New chemical law requires the agency to look at chemicals that were grandfathered in under old law
WASHINGTON--The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017.
“After 40 years we can finally address chemicals currently in the marketplace,” said Jim Jones, EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s action will set into motion a process to quickly evaluate chemicals and meet deadlines required under, and essential to, implementing the new law.”
When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The old law failed to provide EPA with the tools to evaluate chemicals and to require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced.
EPA is proposing three rules to help administer the new process. They are:
Inventory rule. There are currently over 85,000 chemicals on EPA’s Inventory, many of these are no longer actively produced. The rule will require manufacturers, including importers, to notify EPA and the public on the number of chemicals still being produced.
Prioritization rule. This will establish how EPA will prioritize chemicals for evaluation. EPA will use a risk-based screening process and criteria to identify whether a particular chemical is either high or low priority. A chemical designated as high-priority must undergo evaluation. Chemicals designated as low-priority are not required to undergo evaluation.
Risk Evaluation rule. This will establish how EPA will evaluate the risk of existing chemicals. The agency will identify steps for the risk evaluation process, including publishing the scope of the assessment. Chemical hazards and exposures will be assessed along with characterizing and determining risks. This rule also outlines how the agency intends to seek public comment on chemical evaluations.
These three rules incorporate comments received from a series of public meetings held in August 2016.
If EPA identifies unreasonable risk in the evaluation, it is required to eliminate that risk through regulations. Under TSCA the agency must have at least 20 ongoing risk evaluations by the end of 2019.
Comments on the proposed rules must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. At that time, go to the dockets at: https://www.regulations.gov/ and search for: HQ-OPPT-2016-0426 for the inventory rule; HQ-OPPT-2016-0636 for the prioritization rule; and HQ-OPPT-2016-0654 for the risk evaluation rule.
Learn more about today’s proposals: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act-5
EPA Guidance on How to Comply with the Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides
Today, EPA in conjunction with the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) is making available a guide to help users of agricultural pesticides comply with the requirements of the 2015 revised federal Worker Protection Standard. You should read this manual if you employ agricultural workers or handlers, are involved in the production of agricultural plants as an owner/manager of an agricultural establishment or a commercial (for-hire) pesticide handling establishment, or work as a crop advisor.
This “How to Comply” manual includes:
- details to help you determine if the WPS requirements apply to you;
- information on how to comply with the WPS requirements, including exceptions, restrictions, exemptions, options, and examples;
- “Quick Reference Guide”- a list of the basic requirements (excluding exemptions, exceptions, etc.);
- new or revised definitions that may affect your WPS responsibilities; and
- explanations to help you better understand the WPS requirements and how they may apply to you.
This updated 2016 WPS How to Comply Manual supersedes the 2005 version. Changes to the standard have made the 2005 version obsolete. Read the -protection-standard-how-comply-manual" style="color: rgb(56, 100, 163);" target="_blank">Pesticide Worker Protection Standard “How to Comply” Manual.
The Center for Integrated Pest Management has launched the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website. This site is designed for anyone who applies, sells, stores or disposes of pesticides. The website complements the work of Extension agents and Pesticide Safety Education Programs. It covers a wide variety of stewardship topics ranging from storage, handling and disposal, drift runoff and has an extensive section for Homeowners.