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EPA faces lawsuit over TSCA new chemicals programme transparency  |  Chemical Watch

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By Lisa Martine Jenkins, Chemical Watch

Five environmental organisations and a labour union have signalled plans to sue the US EPA over its “repeated and ongoing failures” to comply with TSCA’s mandate to publicly disclose information about new chemicals reviews.

The 2016 amendments to TSCA require that the agency disclose receipt of new chemicals applications – including pre-manufacture notices (PMNs) and test marketing exemptions (TMEs) – within five days, and then subsequently make the notice and accompanying documentation available for examination by the public. 

But in a 3 September notice of intent (NOI) to sue filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the six organisations, it says “despite the unambiguous language of the statutory provisions and EPA’s implementing regulations, EPA routinely fails to disclose the information as mandated by TSCA.”

The organisations involved in this action are: 

  • the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); 
  • the Center for Environmental Health (CEH); 
  • the Environmental Health Strategy Center (EHSC); 
  • the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); 
  • the Sierra Club; and
  • the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial Service Workers International Union, AFL-ClO/CLC (USW).

More specifically, the groups claim that the agency: 

  • fails to notify the public of PMN and TME receipts within five days and does not include all required information;
  • fails to make PMNs, as well as their accompanying health and safety studies, safety data sheets (SDSs), substantiation documents and correspondences, available for examination by the public;
  • does not make and publish determinations on at least 25% of the confidentiality claims received with PMN submissions; and
  • does not review confidentiality claims even when the agency has a “reasonable basis to believe the information does not qualify for protection.”
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