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EPA Removes Confidentiality Claims on Studies of Chemicals Submitted under TSCA / Action part of ongoing commitment to transparency

Release Date: 02/10/2011
Contact Information: Dale Kemery kemery.dale@epa.gov (News Media Only) 202-564-7839 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified five companies that the identities of 14 chemicals associated with a number of health and safety studies submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and claimed as confidential are not eligible for confidential treatment. The action comes as part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s continued efforts to increase public access to chemical information to help Americans understand risks posed by chemicals in our environment.

Last year, EPA put in place a plan to review confidentiality claims for the name of chemicals addressed in health and safety studies. Under these new procedures EPA is moving to declassify many chemical identities so they are no longer secret. More chemical names connected with health and safety studies will be released in the future. The agency plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies provided to the agency under TSCA unless the chemical identity contains process or mixture information that is expressly protected by the law.

“The public deserves access to critical health and safety information on chemicals, but if the name of the chemical is kept secret in the health and safety report, the information is of no real value to people,” said Steve Owens, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We are committed to increasing the American people’s access to this important information.”

Under TSCA, companies may claim that information they submit to EPA should be treated as confidential business information (CBI) and not be disclosed to the public. Companies that manufacture, process, or distribute chemicals are required to immediately provide notice to EPA if they learn that a chemical presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. The reports are made available on EPA’s website, but when the identity of the chemical has been claimed confidential by a company, the name of the chemical has been removed from the copy of the report that is made public.

EPA has begun reviewing past CBI claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies. Where EPA determines that the information is not eligible for confidential treatment under the law, the agency will notify companies of the determination and that EPA will make the information public on the 31st day after receiving the determination unless the company challenges the disclosure in federal court.

More information on EPA’s efforts to increase transparency, for a copy of the letter, and additional information on the notifications on declassifications:
http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/transparency.html