EPA proposes chemical reporting rule update

By Erin Voegele
Posted August 17, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. CST

On August 13 the U.S. EPA published its proposed Inventory Update Reporting Modifications rule in the Federal Register, beginning a 60-day public comment period. The proposed rule aims to amend the reporting requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act Inventory Update Reporting fuel, which requires manufacturers and importers of certain chemical substances to report information about the manufacturing, import, processing and use of chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory of Chemical Substances. The proposed rule applies to both bio-based and fossil-based chemical producers and importers. According to the EPA, information gathered through the proposed rule would allow the agency to better identify and, where appropriate, take steps to manage the risks associated with chemical substances.

The proposed rule recently published by the EPA would enhance the information that must be reported by chemical manufacturers and importers and would increase the frequency of reporting from every five years to every four years. The proposed rule would also require that data be submitted electronically, which the EPA said will help the agency expedite the process of making the reported information publically available. In addition, the proposed rule would limit the information that can be treated as confidential.

According to a fact sheet published by the EPA, the proposed IUR rule would help the agency achieve four primary goals. First, it would tailor the information collected from chemical manufacturers and importers to better meet the agency's information needs. Second, it would increase the EPA's ability to provide the public with access to the reported information. Third, it would allow the agency to obtain new and updated information related to potential exposure to a subset of chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory. Finally, the proposed rule would help improve the usefulness of the information that is reported.

Those potentially affected by the proposed role include entities that manufacture or import 25,000 pounds or more of chemical substances and mixtures listed on the TSCA Inventory. According to the EPA, chemical users and processors who manufacture byproduct chemical substances could also be affected by the proposed rule.

The next reporting period for the IUP rule is currently scheduled for June 1- Sept. 30, 2011. According to the EPA, the agency expects to finalize modifications to the chemical information reporting rule in time for this reporting period, and will make electronic reporting software and guidance materials available before the start of that submission period.

"Enhanced reporting on the production and use of chemicals will help give the American people greater access to information on the chemicals to which their children and families are exposed every day," said Steve Owens, EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "The proposal being announced today will allow the agency to more effectively and expeditiously identify and address potential chemical risks and improve the information available to the public on chemicals most commonly used in commerce."

More information in the proposed rule can be found at www.epa.gov.iur. Public comments can be submitted under docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0187 at www.regulations.gov.