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The EPA on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, announced a new policy that would give the public the opportunity to view information submitted to the agency on the chemical makeup of certain products. Beginning today, the agency will reject confidentiality claims of Confidential Business Information on the identity of chemicals.
The chemicals that will be affected by this action are those that are submitted to EPA with studies that show a substantial risk to people's health and the environment and have been previously disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory, the agency said.
Under Section 8(e) of TSCA, companies that manufacture, process, or distribute chemicals are required to immediately provide notice to the EPA if they learn that a chemical presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. The Section 8(e) reports are made available on the agency's website. However, until today, companies could routinely claim confidentiality for the actual identity of the chemical covered by the Section 8(e) submission, so the public posting of the information would not include the name of the chemical. The new policy ends this practice for chemicals on the public portion of the TSCA Inventory.
"This action represents another step to use the agency's authority under the existing TSCA to the fullest extent possible, recognizing EPA's strong belief that the 1976 law is both outdated and in need of reform," the agency said in a press release. The agency also noted it will announce additional steps in the coming months to increase the transparency of chemical information.