ILMA Comments on EPA’s TSCA Prioritization Proposed Rule

MARCH 20, 2017

ILMA has submitted comments to EPA on its proposed prioritization rule that will establish the Agency’s internal procedures to prioritize “existing” chemicals as either “high priority” for further risk evaluation or “low priority” for which no further evaluation is currently necessary.

The prioritization rule is one of the framework regulations that implement last year’s TSCA overhaul. The amended statute envisions a systematic “review pipeline” for all existing chemicals in commerce.

In its comments, ILMA called for greater clarity and transparency by EPA during the “pre-prioritization” phase in which the Agency will ascertain what data are available on a particular chemical to make the determination whether there is sufficient information to officially commence the prioritization process on that specific substance.

ILMA recommended that EPA should publish a candidate list (inclusive of the objective criteria used to establish the list and how it was applied) to put industry on notice that a substance used in their operations is under pre-review by the Agency and may be moved to the initiation phase of prioritization.

The Association also called on EPA to better explain in the final rule the interplay of chemical pre-prioritization with the Agency’s expanded testing authority under the amended TSCA and the forthcoming "fees rule."

Additionally, ILMA noted that there is a significant benefit to the Agency designating more chemicals as “low priority” than required by the statute as it signals to industry that a chemical is likely to be prospectively available, thereby allowing businesses to better plan their operations.

ILMA also cautioned the Agency not to punish “data rich” chemicals for which manufacturers and processors have spent significant time and resources to generate information — as it could discourage the generation of that data in the future if it means an increased probability of EPA review.

Further, the Association commented that EPA must be reasonable in its interpretation of known, intended, or reasonably foreseen uses and must not get bogged down in a "fishing excursion" and scour for every possible use of a substance — no matter how unlikely it may be.

Finally, ILMA encouraged EPA and Environment Canada/Health Canada to continue its collaborative relationship through the Regulatory Cooperation Council to achieve increased regulatory transparency and coordination between the two countries.