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
A panel that included manufacturers agreed Aug. 17 to flesh out four ideas to simplify EPA requirements companies face when providing information about chemicals in waste streams they recycle.
Before its next meeting Sept. 13-14, the Environmental Protection Agency advisory committee—which includes makers of glass, metal, electronic parts and other products—will discuss strategies to:
If the committee doesn’t reach consensus, its members can put forward ideas most of the members support and the objections of others. The EPA would then decide how to proceed.
The congressionally mandated committee consists of officials representing the EPA, manufacturers, recyclers, states, tribes and environmental health groups. Congress ordered the EPA to establish the committee when lawmakers amended the Toxic Substances Control Act in 2016.Industry and recycling representatives outnumber state, tribal and environmental health groups on the committee, so the majority report in the committee’s final recommendations would be likely to reflect industry’s ideas.
Despite strong disagreements at times, all of the committee members said Aug. 17 they remain committed to trying to work towards a consensus set of recommendations. The diverse groups on the committee seemed unlikely, however, to ever agree on reducing the amount of information such manufacturers provide the EPA.
Committee members are discussing whether there are ways to make it easier for glass, metal, petroleum and other manufacturers to provide the EPA information about chemicals in “inorganic byproducts”—mostly metal-containing ash, dust, sludge and liquid—that get recycled or reused. The EPA and state, tribal and other non-industry groups want to be sure, however, that the agency gets enough information to understand whether some of these reused wastes end up harming people or the environment.
Lynn Vendinello, deputy director of EPA Chemical Control Division, told the committee the agency can’t estimate exactly the volume of inorganic byproducts reported by manufacturers, because the reporting form doesn’t distinguish them from other chemicals. However, the agency estimates that about 382 billion pounds of 463 inorganic chemicals are reported annually on average.
Fern Abrams, regulatory affairs director for the IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries and committee member, described the core problem during the Aug. 16-17 meeting. Manufacturers have found many different niche uses and markets for what used to be wastes, she said.
Yet the diversity of the byproducts and their uses make it so complicated to comply with the Chemical Data Reporting rule that the regulation becomes a disincentive to recycling, Abrams told Bloomberg BNA.
Manufacturers don’t want to dispose of their byproducts, but sometimes that seems like the easier option, she said.
The CDR rule requires that chemical manufacturers report production volume, worker exposure and other information to the EPA every four years. Many different offices within the agency use that information to answer lots of different questions, according to information the agency prepared for the meeting.
Byproduct production counts as a form of chemical manufacture when it has commercial value. For example, platinum and other metals can be reused again and again as catalysts to make other chemicals.
Cement kiln dust can be used in roadway construction, according to the Department of Transportation.
Some uses of waste materials, especially ones with metals, are worrisome and potentially harmful, said John Gilkeson, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency official representing the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), David Lennett, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other non-industry committee members.
Metal-containing wastes burned as fuel, for example, can spew toxic compounds into the air people and animals breath, the water they drink and the soil on which food grows, Amy Kyle, with the Sierra Club and Communities Against Toxics, told Bloomberg BNA. The Sierra Club has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg, the majority owner of Bloomberg L.P., an affiliate of Bloomberg BNA.Ironite® was once a fertilizer ingredient, but made with mine tailings, Lennett said. The result: Arsenic, lead and other metals leached into the soil, he said. States individually rushed to prevent continued contamination, Lennett said.
“The scenario where people put metals onto land isn’t a fantasy. It’s happened,” he said. “That’s one reason states are concerned.”
Work groups established at the meeting’s end will refine ideas and present strategies to the committee at its next meeting on Sept. 13-14. The panel’s last meeting is scheduled for Oct. 25-26, according to a Federal Register notice to be published Aug. 18.
To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at firstname.lastname@example.org
The EPA's description of the Chemical Data Reporting rule's need for inorganic byproducts data is available at http://src.bna.com/rLZ.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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)