EPA Proposes Amendments to TSCA IUR Rule

Date: Dec 16, 1999

On August 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule. 64 Fed. Reg. 46771.

The existing IUR rule, codified at 40 C.F.R. Part 710, was promulgated under section 8(a) of TSCA in 19861. Under the existing rule, every four years EPA requires manufacturers and importers to report data regarding production volume, plant site information, and site-limited status of certain substances listed on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory (Inventory). EPA is proposing to, inter alia, require reporting of additional data intended to assist EPA in evaluating potential exposures and risks resulting from the manufacture, import, processing, and use of these substances, and to reduce some of the burdens of the IUR rule. Specifically, EPA is proposing to:

  • increase the existing reporting volume threshold from 10,000 pounds per year to 25,000 pounds per year.

  • require that manufacturers report, in ranges, the number of workers reasonably likely to be exposed to reportable substances at the site of manufacture or import, and the physical form, average concentration, and maximum concentration of the substances as they leave the reporter's possession.

  • require manufacturers of larger-volume chemical substances (those manufactured or imported in quantities greater than 300,000 pounds per year) to report information regarding the processing and use of substances conducted at sites controlled by the reporter as well as downstream sites that directly or indirectly receive the substance from the reporter. This information would include:

  • the type of industrial processing or use operation at each site (including downstream sites)

  • the five-digit North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes that best describe the industrial activities conducted by the facilities

  • the "industrial functions" of the chemical substances the approximate number of processing and use sites the estimated number of workers reasonably likely to be exposed to each chemical substance at each site at which the chemical is used or processed

  • the commercial and consumer uses of the substances

  • the estimated percentages of the reporter's production volume in each industrial function category and commercial and consumer product category

  • the maximum concentration of the substance in each commercial and consumer product category

  • revoke the current reporting exemption for inorganic chemical substances, and instead require partial reporting

  • create a partial reporting exemption for petroleum process streams provide an exemption from reporting for certain forms of natural gas

  • require reporting of additional information to assist in the identification of plant sites

  • change the period for which reporting is required from a corporate fiscal year to a calendar year basis

  • allow reporters to assert a confidentiality claim for specific production volume information while releasing the more general production volume range as public information

  • require upfront substantiation of plant site confidentiality claims made in IUR submissions require reporters to reassert CBI claims made in past IUR reports during each reporting cycle

Under the proposal, the burden of IUR reporting on the regulated community would both increase and decrease. EPA's proposed production volume threshold increase will reduce the number of substances that must be reported under the rule. However, the proposal to require reporting on the number of workers reasonably likely to be exposed to substances and the physical form, average concentration, and maximum concentration of the substances as they leave the reporter's possession, as well as the requirement that manufacturers of larger-volume (>300,000 pounds) chemical substances report information regarding processing and use may significantly increase a site's IUR requirements and data needs. Of course, the proposal to require limited reporting on inorganics (most of which are completely exempt from IUR) also will require additional reporting. Finally, although the rule as proposed would only apply to manufacturers and importers, processors would be indirectly impacted by the rule as proposed due to the requirement that manufacturers and importers provide "readily obtainable" exposure and use information regarding reportable substances that are received from the manufacturer or importer.

Comments on the proposal were initially due October 25, 1999, but the comment period has been extended to December 24, 1999.

If you have any questions regarding the proposal or this issue generally, please contact Tom Berger at 202-434-4285 or via e-mail at berger@khlaw.com.

1 51 Fed. Reg. 21,447 (June 12, 1986).