Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Pat Rizzuto
Dec. 18 --More than half the confidential business information claims that the Environmental Protection Agency thought chemical manufacturers had made in 2010 when it launched a declassification effort involved information that companies had never claimed warranted such protection, Bloomberg BNA has learned in interviews with agency and industry officials.
The agency's chemical data tracking system was overreporting the confidential business information, or CBI, claims, Jim Jones, assistant EPA administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 16.
“But when we dug in, there weren't as many claims as we thought,” Jones said.
Jones updated Bloomberg BNA on the status of the Toxic Substances Control Act CBI Declassification challenge, which the EPA announced in March 2010 .
Through that challenge--part of the Obama administration's broader transparency efforts--the EPA asked chemical manufacturers to review old and new claims that chemical names and other information they submitted to the agency had to be kept confidential.
TSCA allows a variety of information to be protected lest public disclosure give competitors access to proprietary data, such as one chemical manufacturer's toxicity data for a chemical it is researching for possible development.
When it launched the disclosure initiative, the EPA thought that chemical manufacturers had made more than 22,000 claims that information they submitted to the agency needed CBI protection, Christina Franz, a senior director at the American Chemistry Council, told Bloomberg BNA in late November.
It turned out, however, that well over half the alleged CBI claims were never made in the first place, she said.
Since 2010, the agency has determined that 12,043 of 22,483 alleged CBI claims were never made, according to the EPA's website.
Claims made in 909 cases have been declassified, and the agency and companies have agreed that 3,349 CBI claims continue to be valid.
The agency is completing its investigation of about 7,000 more alleged confidentiality claims, the website said.
For the EPA, the exercise identified a tracking system problem that needed to be addressed, Jones said.
The bulk of CBI claims turned out never to have been made, he said.
For companies, the effort helped them clean house, Jones said.
Often, a company did not even know there were CBI claims for a chemical it made because the claim originally was asserted by a different manufacturer it had since acquired, Jones said.
In other cases, companies realized they no longer needed certain information to be kept from the public, he said.
Franz said chemical manufacturers are continuing to work with the EPA on the remaining 7,000 files.
“We're proud our members are stepping up to the plate,” she said.
The EPA plans to issue by the spring of 2014 a proposed rule that would require chemical manufacturers to reassert and resubstantiate after a set number of years their confidentiality claims, Jones said.
“The EPA expects this action would increase transparency and availability of public health and environmental effects information on chemicals in commerce,” the agency said in the fall regulatory agenda.
By Pat Rizzuto
To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on the CBI Declassification Challenge program is available at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/declassification-cbi.html.
Copyright 2013, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)