EPA prohibits 72 inert ingredients from use in pesticides
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to remove 72 ingredients from its list of ingredients approved for use in pesticide products. Manufacturers wishing to use these ingredients in pesticides in the future will have to provide EPA with studies or information to demonstrate their safety before EPA will then consider whether to allow their use.
This action in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others, that asked the agency to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticides. Instead, EPA will evaluate potential risks of inert ingredients and reduce risks, as appropriate.
Many of the 72 inert ingredients removed with this action are on the list of 371 identified by the petitioners as hazardous. EPA is taking this action after considering public comments on its October 2014 proposal. EPA’s list of approved inert ingredients in pesticides will be updated after the Federal Register publication.
Trump freezes EPA spending
President Trump has ordered the EPA in a letter to stop any spending as the administration investigates the agency, according to CNBC. This freeze comes in association with Trump campaign promises to reduce government regulations, particularly for the oil and gas industry.
The letter pauses all money movement by the EPA including grants, contracts and support of environmental research and cleanups of Superfund sites. The freeze’s affect on already approved agreements was unclear at the time of publishing.
EPA amends RMP to reduce accident release risk at chemical facilities
The EPA finalized a rule amending its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations to reduce the likelihood of accidental releases at chemical facilities and improve emergency response activities when those releases occur. The rule is the latest in a series of actions by federal government in consultation with industry, local and state governments, and other stakeholders to improve chemical process safety; assist local emergency authorities in planning for, and responding to, accidents; and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated sources.
The Accidental Release Prevention regulations – also known as the EPA RMP regulations – require covered facilities to develop and implement a risk management program, which will be shared with state and local officials to help them plan for and prevent chemical accidents and releases.
While numerous chemical plans are operated safely, in the last decade more than 1,500 accidents were reported by RMP facilities. These accidents are responsible for causing nearly 60 deaths; some 17,000 people being injured or seeking medical treatment; almost 500,000 people being evacuated or sheltered-in-place; and more than $2 billion in property damages.
Subsurface intrusion added to the Superfund Hazard Ranking System
The EPA finalized a proposal to expand the hazards that qualify sites for the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). EPA assesses sites using the Hazard Ranking System (HRS), which quantifies negative impacts to air, groundwater, surface water and soil. Sites receiving HRS scores above a specific threshold can be proposed for placement on the NPL.
Subsurface intrusion is the migration of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants from contaminated groundwater or soil into an overlying building. Subsurface intrusion can result in people being exposed to harmful levels of hazardous substances, which can raise the lifetime risk of cancer or chronic disease. EPA targets sites on the NPL for further investigation and possible remediation through the Superfund program. Only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term cleanup leading to a permanent remedy.
EPA to evaluate first chemicals under TSCA reform
The EPA announced the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform. The new law gives the agency the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace in an effort to protect public health and the environment.
The first 10 chemicals to be evaluated are:
- Carbon Tetrachloride
- Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
- Methylene Chloride
- Pigment Violet 29
- Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
TSCA, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires EPA to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These chemicals were drawn from EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations.
EPA moves to ban certain aerosol degreasers and dry cleaning spot removers
The EPA is proposing to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.
EPA identified serious risks to workers and consumers associated with TCE uses in a 2014 assessment that concluded that the chemical can cause a range of adverse health effects, including cancer, development and neurotoxicological effects, and toxicity to the liver. Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities. EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions.
EPA’s assessment also found risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing, and the agency is developing a separate proposed regulatory action to address those risks. Last week, EPA announced the inclusion of TCE on the list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under TSCA. That action will allow EPA will evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical. Today’s action only proposes to ban certain uses of the chemical.
Comments on the proposed rule must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.