The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) hosted a webinar today concerning a web-based tool that EPA plans to make available to allow submission of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(e) notices via the Internet through EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX) portal. EPA plans to make slides from today's webinar available online.
EPA increasingly is seeking submission of notices and reports electronically through the CDX portal. Recent examples include Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) and TSCA Section 5 submissions using the e-PMN software. EPA is developing a web-based tool that will allow submission of TSCA Section 8(e) notices. EPA plans on organizing industry beta testing of the TSCA Section 8(e) notice web-based reporting tool on May 14, 2012, through May 18, 2012. This beta testing reportedly will not include testing of the CDX registration process but will focus solely on the Section 8(e) submission process.
Those interested in participating should express that interest in an e-mail to email@example.com. According to the presentation, EPA plans on limiting the beta testing to approximately 20 participants. Currently, EPA plans to release the final version of the TSCA Section 8(e) tool for use by Fall 2012. Comments on the tool, based on review of the slides and/or beta testing participation, are encouraged by EPA and should be submitted to the above-listed e-mail address. Because the TSCA Section 8(e) tool will be the subject of a beta test, EPA noted that the current fields in the tool may change.
During the webinar, the presenters first briefly reviewed the CDX registration process. If a company official already has an existing CDX registration, there is no need to set up a new account, though the current account will need to be adjusted to add this specific reporting function. Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. would be pleased to provide additional guidance on CDX registration upon request.
Through a series of screen shots, the presenters then provided a step-by-step overview of the TSCA Section 8(e) tool. Users will be able to enter required information into a series of information fields, which will be saved to EPA's server. According to EPA, all information will be encrypted and saved behind a series of firewalls. A user may start entering information, save and close the tool, and then come back to the notice at a later time; the notice will not be submitted to EPA until the final 'submit' button is clicked.
Only the primary authorized official from a company can begin a TSCA Section 8(e) notice, sign the form, or amend the notice after it is submitted. There can be multiple authorized officials from a given company or organization. The tool also offers the ability for a consortium to submit notices on behalf of its members.
Substantive TSCA Section 8(e) reporting requirements are not changed by this action, so a user may make confidential business information (CBI) claims for submitted information to the extent currently permitted. Before the electronic TSCA Section 8(e) notice is completed and submitted, the user must substantiate any CBI claims by providing the substantiation information required by EPA in its regulations, which will be prompted through a series of information fields. Documents, such as study reports, may be attached to the submission; if CBI is asserted for the documents, a sanitized version also must be attached to the submission.
EPA encourages users to use the electronic signature agreement option when registering for CDX, but notes the option to submit a signed paper copy is still an option. The submission of the paper copy can take up to ten business days for processing, which could be problematic given the 30-calendar day deadline for TSCA Section 8(e) notices. Participants on the webinar noted problems and associated delays with the electronic signature process, as well.
Users also will be able to use the TSCA Section 8(e) tool to search for submitted TSCA Section 8(e) information on a chemical-specific basis. The presenters stated that they did not know if EPA eventually intends to require submission of TSCA Section 8(e) notices through this web-based tool. The presenters stated that EPA intends to develop similar reporting tools for submissions under TSCA Section 4, as well as 'For Your Information (FYI)' submissions that do not meet TSCA Section 8(e) reporting criteria.