EPA’s Retrospective Regulatory Review Plan Includes Eight Pesticide, Chemical Activities

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to review eight pesticide and chemical regulations and regulatory requirements to determine whether they can achieve their goals more effectively with less burden on regulated industries, the agency said in a preliminary plan issued May 26.

EPA’s Preliminary Plan for Periodic Retrospective Reviews said the agency will review toxicological test methods, jointly review groups of pesticides, consider revising certain pesticide and chemical reporting obligations, and reconsider lead renovation clearance levels, as part of its efforts to determine whether it should modify, streamline, expand or repeal regulations.

The agency also said it plans to propose to increase the amount of information pesticide and chemical manufacturers could report electronically, determine whether requirements for export notifications on pesticides and chemicals could be eased, propose changes to improve the efficiency of pesticide applicator certifications, and review regulations affecting polychlorinated biphenyls.

EPA’s plan responds to President Obama’s Executive Order No. 13,563, which directed each federal agency to develop a preliminary plan to make its regulatory programs more effective or less burdensome while still achieving their objectives. The EPA plan was one of 30 such plans from agencies throughout the government released by the White House on May 26.

The EPA preliminary plan is divided into “early” and “longer-term” actions to indicate how quickly the agency intends to undertake its reviews.

Electronic Data Submissions.

Among its early actions, EPA said it will propose later this year a process to electronically submit health and safety data in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Chemical manufacturers may be required to submit health and safety data as they seek the agency’s approval to manufacture new chemicals or respond to data-collection rules, provide data in accordance with a regulation ordering new tests be conducted, or when they determine a chemical they manufacture poses a previously unknown significant health or environmental risks.

Within the next 12 months, the plan said, EPA also will develop a work plan to expand the amount of information pesticide manufacturers could submit electronically in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Bundling Reviews of Pesticides.

Within the next 18 months, EPA said it will “bundle” its reviews of two groups of pesticides that affect the body in similar ways. The two groups are neonicotinoid insecticides and sulfonylurea herbicides.

Combining reviews of related pesticides can reduce redundant data submissions and allow industry to coordinate its research on questions such as the effects caused by common metabolites from divergent pesticides, the plan said.

EPA said it is drafting a work plan to increase the role of new toxicological test methods in helping the agency decide which chemicals may pose hazards for human health or the environment that warrant risk assessment or risk management.

The agency’s plan referred to computational toxicology methods that use molecular biology, chemistry, and mathematical and advanced computer models to rank chemicals based on risks (35 CRR 410, 4/18/11).

EPA will ask stakeholders to participate in this work plan development during 2011, the plan said.

The agency said that by the end of 2011 it will propose some “quick changes” to certain TSCA reporting requirements, such as a requirement that six copies of certain health and environmental data be provided to the agency.

Long-Term Actions.

In 2012 EPA intends to propose improvements to its regulations for certifying and training pesticide applicators, the plan said.

The document did not describe the types of improvements the agency will propose, but said EPA wants to clarify requirements and modify potentially redundant or restrictive requirements.

EPA also said it will review requirements for chemical and pesticide export notifications to see if they can be eased, for example, by transmitting them to receiving countries electronically. TSCA and FIFRA both require export notifications to be transmitted to the importing country.

By Pat Rizzuto

EPA’s Preliminary Plan for Periodic Retrospective Reviews is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/2011-regulatory-action-plans/EnvironmentalProtectionAgencyPreliminaryRegulatoryReformPlan.pdf .