US EPA requires companies to disclose chemical identities

21 January 2010 17:39  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chemical producers may no longer routinely keep from public scrutiny the identity of certain chemicals they make or distribute, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday.

“Starting today, EPA has announced its intention to reject a certain type of confidentiality claim, known as Confidential Business Information [CBI], on the identity of chemicals,” the EPA said in a statement. “The chemicals that will be affected by this action are those that are submitted to EPA with studies that show a substantial risk to people's health and the environment and have been previously disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory.”

Under TSCA, companies may claim a range of sensitive, proprietary information as CBI, the EPA said.

Companies that manufacture, process or distribute chemicals are required to immediately provide notice to the EPA if they learn that a chemical presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. Those reports are made available on the EPA’s website.

“However, until today, companies would routinely claim confidentiality for the actual identity of the chemical covered by the …submission, so the public posting of the information would not include the name of the chemical,” the EPA said.

“The new policy announced today ends this practice for chemicals on the public portion of the TSCA Inventory,” the EPA said. “This new policy will increase the amount of information available by granting the public access to the chemical identification information submitted, along with other health and safety data…”.

“Assuring the safety of chemicals is one of Administrator [Lisa] Jackson's top priorities for EPA's future,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “The American people are entitled to transparent, accessible information on chemicals that may pose a risk to their health or the environment.”

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By: Brian Ford
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