US EPA to require more reporting on chemicals, refining

11 August 2010 20:15  [Source: ICIS news]

Refiners, chems to report moreWASHINGTON (ICIS)--US environmental regulators will require more detailed and faster reporting of chemical production and refining data in 2011 and will put more limits on confidential business information, federal officials said on Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would make multiple changes to reporting rules and definitions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the principal US programme for regulation of chemicals in commerce.

The agency said that its proposed rules changes would expand the amount and type of information that refiners and chemical producers or importers would have to report and the frequency of those submissions.

In addition to chemical manufacturers and refiners, the proposed rules changes would apply to electric utilities, paper and metals manufacturing and the producers of semiconductors and other electronic components, according to the EPA.

The agency said that its proposed changes for the reporting rules - formally known as the Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) regulations under TSCA - “would provide improved information for EPA to better identify and, where appropriate, take steps to manage risks associated with chemical substances”.

The EPA said the changes - scheduled to take effect next year - would meet four goals, including better data for agency regulators, broader public access to industry reports, new information on potential exposures, and improved usefulness of information provided.

Among other things, the proposed changes would make all inventory reporting electronic, eliminating paper document filing and speeding the reporting process.

Under the proposed reporting rules, a company producing, importing or using 25,000 pounds (11.3 tonnes) or more of any chemical or substance in the TSCA inventory would have to report that activity for any year of the most recent four years in which the threshold amount was reached or exceeded.

The proposal would require inventory update reporting every four years, rather than the current five-year reporting frequency.

The agency also said that it would require more up-front explanations from companies that want to claim confidential business information (CBI) status for data that otherwise would be reportable.

For a range of chemicals or substances covered by special agency rules or orders because of their potential environmental threat, the EPA said it would eliminate the usual 25,000 lbs/year reporting threshold and require inventory information regardless of the volumes produced, imported or used.

The agency has invited comment on the proposed changes by stakeholders and the general public, with the 60-day comment period ending in mid-October. The complete 113-page proposal is available from the EPA website.

US chemical and refining industries officials were not immediately available for comment on the proposed rules changes.

Separately, the US Congress has begun deliberations aimed at expanding and modernising TSCA.

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