The Environmental Protection Agency Feb. 11 released 2012
Chemical Data Reporting information that provides greater insight into
chemical use patterns than it previously had been able to offer.
In addition, the data on more than 7,600 chemicals show that chemical
manufacturers and importers claimed less information to be confidential than
they have in the past, EPA said in a Fact
Consumers, advocacy groups, academics, and other interested parties also will
be able to view and sort the information more easily than in years past.
The increased data resulted from a regulation EPA updated and issued as final
in August 2011. In that updated rule, EPA changed the regulation's name from the
Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule to the CDR rule, and the agency expanded
the amount of data chemical manufacturers and importers had to provide, the
number of chemicals for which information had to be reported, and the frequency
of reports (35 CRR 769, 8/8/11).
The updated rule mandated reports on production volume, use, exposure, and
other information, and the 2012 information covers manufacturing and importation
in calendar year 2011.
For the first time, chemical manufacturers and importers were required to
submit their reports electronically, which allowed EPA to release information in
six months rather than 21 months, Richard Denison, a senior scientist with the
Environmental Defense Fund, told BNA Feb. 11.
“The 2012 Chemical Data Reporting information will help EPA and others better
assess chemicals, evaluate potential exposures and use, and expand efforts to
encourage the use of safer chemicals,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a
In a statement, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said the CDR information
“exposes the widespread use of chemicals in everyday consumer products,
including those intended for our children.”
“Beyond collecting this data, the EPA has little power to require health and
safety testing on any of these chemicals, even if experts suspect they are
dangerous,” Lautenberg said, promising to “keep working aggressively on
legislation to reform our broken chemical safety laws to better protect the
health of our families.”
Lautenberg has introduced legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control
Act since 2005, most recently through the Safe Chemicals Act, which he has said
he will reintroduce in the 113th Congress (37 CRR 69, 1/21/13).
Chemical manufacturers and importers provided EPA with CDR rule data for
7,674 chemicals produced or imported in volumes of 25,000 pounds or more at each
of their manufacturing or importation sites, EPA said.
A total of 1,512 companies provided manufacturing and importation data for
4,753 sites, EPA said.
Of the total 7,674 chemicals, EPA obtained production and use information for
Due to the more detailed reporting requirements in the 2011 rule, EPA was
able to release the national data in several categories including: Top 20
Chemicals Used in Children's Products, Top 20 Chemicals Used in Consumer
Products, Top 20 Chemicals Used in Commercial Products, and Top Eight Industrial
Sectors that Processed and Used Reportable Chemicals.
EPA also released the information in a searchable database that allows
interested parties to sort the information by broad categories listing the
ranges of the numbers of workers exposed, such as: less than 10 workers, 10-24
workers, 25-49 workers, up through more than 10,000 workers.
The American Chemistry Council issued a statement welcoming the release of
the 2012 CDR data.
“Like previous chemical data reporting released to the public, this
information will give EPA a clearer picture of how chemicals are used in
commercial and consumer products, including in products intended for use by
children. ACC supports EPA's efforts in the CDR to improve how EPA collects
chemical information and releases it to the public,” the trade association
Denison said the amount of information and accessibility represents a
“significant improvement” from years past.
In response to requests from groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund,
Denison said, EPA provided the total picture of information it got and let the
public know if some of that information was not reasonably ascertainable or was
claimed confidential by the manufacturer or importer.
“That gives us a better sense of the extent and nature of information
companies are masking,” Denison said.
In total there were about 33,000 pieces of information that companies
reported to EPA, he said. About 16 percent of that information was claimed to be
confidential, Denison said.
According to EPA, companies claimed less information to be confidential. For
example, in 2006 companies claimed 9 percent of the names of their chemicals to
be confidential, while in the 2012 reports they claimed 3 percent of the
identities to be confidential.
David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, told
BNA his organization was encouraged by the “large reduction in the number of CBI
claims on the chemical name, the intended usage, and if that intended usage
In releasing the data, Jackson said the information highlights “the clear
need for TSCA reform,” but her statement did not explain the reasoning for that
Denison said the CDR information shows only a small percentage of the total
volume of chemicals in U.S. commerce--only ones made or imported in volumes of
25,000 pounds or more in 2011.
That means people may be exposed to many more chemicals, but EPA has the
resources to assess only a handful per year according to a “work plan” the
agency released in 2012 that called for the agency to conduct risk assessments
of 83 chemicals. (36 CRR 269, 3/5/12).
By Pat Rizzuto
The 2012 Chemical Data Reporting rule information is available at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/cdr/pubs/guidance/cdr_factsheets.html.