The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Update Rule (IUR), the consultation on which closes in October. Lynn Bergeson explains why domestic chemical manufacturers and importers must be aware of the proposal and prepare for its implications.
The IUR requires manufacturers, defined to include importers, of certain chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory to report site and manufacturing information for chemicals manufactured (or imported) in amounts of 25,000 pounds (11.3 tonnes) or more at a single site during a reporting year. Additional information on domestic processing and use must be reported for chemicals manufactured in amounts of 300,000 pounds or more at a single site. The next reporting cycle will end on 30 September 2011 for chemicals manufactured in calendar year 2010.
The IUR was issued in 1986 pursuant to TSCA Section 8(a). It was intended to require chemical manufacturers and importers to report to EPA every four years basic information for organic chemical substances manufactured (including imported) in
quantities of 10,000 pounds or more each year at each plant site. In 2003 and 2006, EPA revised the rule to expand its coverage to include inorganic substances, raised the reporting threshold to 25,000 pounds, changed the reporting cycle to every five years
beginning in 2006, and made other adjustments.
Over the years, EPA, states, and other entities have expressed concern with the relative lack of chemical processing, use, and exposure information, the utility of IUR data, and the absence of a uniform IUR electronic reporting format. Public health and
environmental activists also have expressed a shared view that TSCA’s information gathering provisions are limited, legally cumbersome, and procedurally challenging to implement. These stakeholders have urged EPA to revise the IUR to address these claimed information deficits. The pressure to expand the utility and reporting requirements under the IUR has increased since the Obama Administration assumed office. Because chemical management reform is a top EPA priority, it is unlikely EPA will be receptive to advocacy urging wholesale reversal of any key IUR proposal.