James Votaw Quoted in Inside EPA Article, "EPA's Paintstripper Ban Hints at Challenges with TSCA Section 6 Rules"

Date: Sep 02, 2020

Keller and Heckman Partner James Votaw was quoted in the Inside EPA article, “EPA’s Paintstripper Ban Hints at Challenges with TSCA Section 6 Rules.” The article discusses that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) rule barring consumer use of paintstripping products containing methylene chloride -- the only TSCA risk management rule the agency has finalized – may signify future challenges EPA will face as it seeks to develop other rules under section 6 of the statute.

During an August 12 webinar, Mr. Votaw noted that, given the difficulty the agency faced quantifying costs and benefits from the single use regulated by the paintstripper ban, the agency may struggle to quantify costs and benefits of any future regulatory actions because the agency will likely have to address unreasonable risks from dozens of uses.

“Because [the methylene chloride rule] is so narrowly focused on single use -- by contrast EPA is looking at 40 or 50 individual uses for some of the other chemicals in the first 10 chemicals -- this is really a one off,” he said.

The rule remains the only finalized Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 6 rule that has been completed since Congress reformed the statute in 2016, and as such, Mr. Votaw suggested that it bears reviewing for what it may suggest for future section 6 rules. While EPA conducted a cost-benefit analysis for the paintstripper ban, the fact that the rule only focused on death from acute exposures helped simplify the agency’s analysis.

“I think it’s important to see that even with that very narrow scope for this rule… the agency really still struggled to provide any sort of really solid quantification of either the benefits or the costs,” he said.

To read the full article, please click here (subscription required).