Bloomberg BNA

Two-year meeting schedule, initial chemicals for IRIS discussions announced By EPA

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Courtesy of Bloomberg BNA

The Environmental Protection Agency released Aug. 9 a two-year schedule of public meetings for its Integrated Risk Information System program and the names of three chemicals for which it will release analytic materials prior to the first meeting (78 Fed. Reg. 48,674).

The IRIS program reviews the human health hazards of chemicals and the dose-levels that could trigger harmful effects. EPA's regulatory agencies as well as states use the information when they seek to determine whether exposures to the chemicals warrant regulatory or other controls.

The three chemicals to be discussed at the first meeting, set for Oct. 23-24, are:

  • tert-butyl alcohol (tert-butanol), an octane booster in gasoline;
  • ethyl-tert-butyl-ether (ETBE), a gasoline additive; and
  • hexahyrdo-1,2,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, an explosive known as Royal Demolition Explosive or RDX.

The meetings detailed in the Federal Register notice continue about every two months beginning Oct. 23-24 and throughout 2013 and 2014. EPA will release the names of chemicals to be discussed at the meetings after October in future notices.

The materials EPA will discuss at each IRIS meeting include a draft literature search strategy and a preliminary summary of key biological effects from those studies that the agency anticipates reviewing through the IRIS program. The literature search strategy will describe the agency's approach for identifying and screening for possible use or exclusion scientific literature that contains toxicity or other information about the compounds.

EPA will release these materials about 60 days before each meeting, which means the materials for tert-butanol, ETBE, and RDX should be released around Aug. 23.

The meeting schedule and additional information illustrate some of the IRIS reforms EPA announced July 31 (37 CRR 906, 8/5/13).

Manufacturers, Production Volumes

The 11 companies that made tert-butanol in the United States in 2012 or imported it into the country included BASF Corp., Evonik Degussa Corp., and Huntsman Corp. The national production and importation volume the companies reported in 2012, using the chemical name 2-propanol, 2-methyl, was 4.1 billion pounds, according to EPA's Chemical Data Reporting database.

In 2012, ETBE manufacturers in the United States included the Lyondell Chemical Co., and at least one other company, which claimed its name to be confidential business information. The companies reported production of ETBE, using the name propane, 2-ethoxy-2-methyl, but they said the national production and importation volume was confidential.

Manufacturers of RDX in the United States in 2012 included Alliant Techsystems Inc., Austin Powder Emulsion, and Bae Systems Holdings Inc. according to CDR information. The national production and importation volume 2012 was 6.3 million pounds.

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