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Paper-Based Chemical Reporting Ends Today

Starting today, companies submitting chemical notices and support documents must use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) electronic submissions system.

Companies can no longer use paper to submit their Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) documents for review, enacting a final rule that EPA put in place on April 6 of last year. The EPA said that the change will promote transparency and eliminate paperwork burdens.

“This is the latest in a series of actions that EPA is taking to improve the reporting of information on chemicals, and, importantly, increase the public’s access to that information,” Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said. “The agency used an out-dated process that depended on paper filings for far too long.”

Under TSCA, companies are required to submit new chemical notices, including pre-manufacture notices (PMNs), to the EPA at least 90 days before the chemical’s manufacture or import. The agency reviews the notice and can set conditions to be placed on the use of a new chemical.

The EPA typically receives 1,000 new chemical notices each year, and the notices can include hundreds of pages of supporting material. Companies are now required to submit these notices using EPA’s electronic PMN software, either on a CD or using the agency’s Central Data Exchange (CDX).

The use of CDs is also being phased out, and will end in one year.

In February the EPA notified five companies that the identities of 14 chemicals associated with a number of health and safety studies submitted under TSCA, and claimed as confidential, are not eligible for confidential treatment.

The agency last year established a plan to review confidentiality claims for the names of chemicals addressed in health and safety studies. Under these new procedures the EPA is moving to declassify many chemical identities so they are no longer secret.

When introduced, the plan was roundly criticized by chemical manufacturers, who asserted that maintaining the confidentiality of certain information is vital to “a strategic American industry that is already fighting recession and foreign competition,” according to an industry trade association.

More information on EPA’s electronic reporting software and CDX is available here.

Picture Credit: Felicity Dear

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