The growing ability of companies to genetically engineer algae to make biofuels and other chemicals and to undertake tasks such as capturing carbon dioxide from power plants is a key reason the Environmental Protection Agency is updating guidance manufacturers should use before submitting required information.
Since 2003, the number of TSCA biotech cases submitted to EPA each year has increased from fewer than five to more than 40 to date in 2015.
The agency’s chemicals office, called the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, recently held a workshop on the guidance and invited interested parties to submit written comments by Oct. 31.
Two views emerged.
Industry groups told the EPA its current regulatory approach is working well, but offered some suggestions to help the regulatory reviews be more effective without unduly burdening manufacturers.
Advocacy groups said the statute the agency is using to regulate genetically engineered microorganisms—the Toxic Substances Control Act—is inadequate for that purpose, as are the regulations and policies it has developed under that statutory authority.
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