TSCA Changes May Alter Pending Chemical Rules for Articles

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By Pat Rizzuto

June 13 — Congress' changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act could alter proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules affecting chemicals in manufactured goods before they're issued as final, attorneys said June 13.

The EPA may need to conduct new analyses to support its proposed rules or the agency may need to re-propose them in light of changes the TSCA-reform bill would make to the criteria the agency should use when regulating manufactured goods, or “articles,” said Lynn Bergeson, managing partner of Bergeson & Campbell P.C.

Mark Duvall, an attorney with Beveridge & Diamond P.C., told Bloomberg BNA he too would interpret the articles provisions of the TSCA-reform bill as applying to the forthcoming final “significant new use rules” once the legislation is signed into law.

Bergeson and Duvall referred to changes the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576) made to the EPA's authorities over new chemicals and new uses of chemicals (Section 5 of TSCA).

The House and Senate approved H.R. 2576 on May 24 and June 7, respectively. The White House strongly supports the bill, which would overhaul TSCA for the first time since 1976, and President Obama is expected to sign it soon.

Domestic Manufacturers, Importers Affected

Proposed significant new use rules covering domestic manufacturers and importers of products that contain certain perfluorinated chemicals, toluene diisocyanates and flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers are among the regulations the EPA may have to rethink, Bergeson said during a webinar her law firm hosted.

Manufacturers and importers of semiconductors, automobiles and furniture are among the companies that objected to EPA's proposal to cover articles in these regulations.

In an e-mailed statement, the EPA said it could not comment on how it would interpret H.R. 2576, because it has not yet been signed into law.

Richard Denison, lead senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said H.R. 2576 does not discuss whether its changes to Section 5 are to apply immediately or be phased in.

“It would partly depend on where [EPA is] in the process and what issues are being raised,” Denison said during the webinar.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com