Asbestos Federal agencies Chemical Manufacturing

EPA requests input on documents for TSCA chemical evaluations, proposes asbestos rule

Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comment on problem formulation documents for the first 10 chemicals slated for evaluation for potential health and environmental risks under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, as well as a systematic review approach document and a proposed significant new use rule for asbestos.

An EPA press release calls the problem formulation documents “an important interim step prior to completing and publishing the final risk evaluations by December 2019.” These documents clarify the scope documents, published in June 2017, that outline for each chemical the hazards, exposures, conditions of use and subpopulations that may be exposed.

The systematic review document, which may be revised, “includes a structured process of identifying, evaluating and integrating evidence for both the hazard and exposure assessments” previously established under the Toxic Substances Control Act and amended by the Lautenberg Act, EPA states.

The significant new use rule proposal is the first of its kind for asbestos, a known human carcinogen included among the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated, EPA states. The rule would initiate a review process requiring EPA approval for entities seeking to start or resume manufacturing, importing or processing of asbestos for “certain uses identified by EPA as no longer ongoing,” according to the agency.

Uses subject to review include, but are not limited to, adhesives, sealants, and roof and non-roof coatings; arc chutes; millboard; reinforced plastics; roofing felt; and vinyl-asbestos floor tile.

“These actions provide the American people with transparency and an opportunity to comment on how EPA plans to evaluate the 10 chemicals undergoing risk evaluation, select studies and use the best available science to ensure chemicals in the marketplace are safe,” then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in the release. “At the same time, we are moving forward to take important, unprecedented action on asbestos.”

Document notices were published in the June 11 Federal Register. Comments on the problem formulation and systematic review approach documents are due July 26. Comments on the asbestos significant new use rule proposal are due Aug. 10.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)