21 January 2010 23:07 [Source: ICIS news]
(adds ACC response in paragraphs 8-9)
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…”.
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The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said it welcomed Thursday’s announcement.
“While ACC is still assessing the full impact of the policy on filings [under TSCA], in general the announced policy is consistent with ACC’s position that EPA and chemical companies should work together to enhance public access to chemical health and safety information,” said Mike Walls, ACC vice president of regulatory and technical affairs.
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