US EPA Increases Access to Chemical Information

February 22, 2013

On February 22, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a list of newly which previously have been treated as Confidential Business Information (CBI). The EPA, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), also posted its progress for making chemical information more readily available to the public. The declassified documents can be searched in the Chemical Data Access Tool (CDAT) on their website.

The EPA has completed over 15,700 reviews, including cases of chemicals becoming declassified, cases involving allowed CBI claims, as well as cases where health and safety studies had not been conducted. TSCA CBI Voluntary Challenge was cited as the most significant contributing factor for the declassifications, as well as an internal review of data from older IT systems and the CBI claims for chemical identity by submitters during the TSCA section 5 Notice of Commencement of Manufacture.

The EPA, under the Toxic substances Control Act, collects data in regards to health and safety of chemicals, with some claimed as Confidential Business Information by the submitter. With the gathered information, EPA conducts risk assessments, prioritizes chemicals for review, and taking risk management action when required.

The success of the EPA's plan can be seen in the number of existing TSCA cases, down from 22,483 to 7,675. In regards to the remaining 7,000+ cases, the EPA will put emphasis on the TSCA CBI Voluntary Challenge, which extends the focus on cases under TSCA section 8(e). Furthermore, the EPA will focus on comparing other types of TSCA cases to clarify relevance to CBI claims for the identity of chemicals as it pertains to cases containing health and safety studies.

Since 2009, the EPA have listed 635 chemical identities as available to the public from the TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory.

By allowing public access to chemical safety information allows the public to make informed chemical-related decisions as well as providing a further understanding of the possible implications of specific chemicals.

Prior to the EPA's current efforts, access to studies on human health and the environment had been restricted under CBI claims; however, the 2010 EPA program introduced a review criteria to review confidentiality claims and, where necessary, to challenge these claims. The FY 2011-2015 EPA Strategic Plan included a measure to review over 22,000 existing TSCA cases where CBI claims for chemical identity have been made.

The EPA encourages the declassification of submitted cases of unnecessary CBI claims under TSCA section 8(e) through the TSCA CBI Voluntary Challenge, as well as reviewing older submissions made under TSCA sections 4 and 8(d) in order to verify that the cases contain CBI claims for chemical identity and health and safety studies. EPA will also review non-CBI data which was collected under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule in order to determine if there are related cases regarding health and safety data and the chemical identity claimed as CBI. All new cases submitted containing health and safety data under TSCA for chemicals used in commerce which claim the chemical identity as CBI will be reviewed to determine their validity.

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