→ Web-based Information Collection Activity: Prenatal Assessment of Environmental Risk

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‘The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry… invites comment on a proposed information collection project titled “Prenatal Assessment of Environmental Risk”. This web-based data collection will provide information on behavioral risks for environmental exposures for patients seeking preconception and prenatal care, and for their reproductive health care clinicians.’ ‘The long-term goal is for [this] web-based information collection system to be widely adopted by obstetricians, gynecologists, and other reproductive health care professionals. Through the Prenatal Assessment of Environmental Risk, practicing clinicians will have readily accessible and reliable information, and educational resources to counsel mothers-to-be on their potential environmental exposures and associated risks. This will facilitate reduction in harm to mothers-to-be and their babies. The environmental exposure assessment results will be suitable for incorporation into patients' electronic health records and maintenance within health care provider organizations.’

→ Nominations for Toxic Substances Control Act's Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals

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The Environmental Protection Agency ‘requests public nominations of scientific experts to be considered for ad hoc participation and possible membership on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals.’ Nominees will be considered for ‘ad hoc participation’ in peer reviews of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘risk evaluations for the first 10 chemical substances addressed under the [Toxic Substances Control Act]. In addition, all nominees may be considered for … membership to fulfill short term needs when a vacancy occurs on the chartered Committee.’ ‘Nominees should be scientists who have sufficient professional qualifications, including training and experience, to be capable of providing expert comments on the scientific issuesNo interested scientists shall be ineligible to serve by reason of their membership on any other advisory committee to a Federal department or agency or their employment by a Federal department or agency, except the [Environmental Protection Agency].’

→ Information on adverse effects of strategies for attainment and maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards

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The Environmental Protection Agency 'is soliciting information to facilitate the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committees' consideration of any adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, or energy effects which may result from various strategies for attainment and maintenance of national ambient air quality standards.'

→ Second review of the draft Integrated Science Assessment for oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, and particulate matter

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a public comment period for the second draft of the Integrated Science Assessment for oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur, and particulate matter. 'The Integrated Science Assessment, in conjunction with additional technical and policy assessments, provides the scientific basis for EPA's decisions on the adequacy of the current [National Ambient Air Quality Standards] and the appropriateness of possible alternative standards.' The EPA 'is releasing this draft document to seek review by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the public... When revising the document, EPA will consider any public comments submitted during the public comment period specified in this notice.'

→ Call for review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone

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The Environmental Protection Agency is calling for scientific and relevant policy-related information for an Integrated Review Plan and an Integrated Science Assessment, being prepared 'as part of the review of the air quality criteria and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone (O3) and related photochemical oxidants.' The Integrated Science Assessment 'will summarize the plan for the review, including the initial identification of policy-relevant issues and questions to frame the review. It 'will build on the scientific assessment conducted for the last O3 review, focusing on assessing newly available information since the last assessment. Interested parties are invited to assist the EPA by submitting information regarding significant new O3 research and policy-relevant issues for consideration in this review of the primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) O3 standards.'

→ Proposed public access rule for Environmental Protection Agency regulatory science

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting public comment on a proposed regulation which 'provides that, for the science pivotal to its significant regulatory actions, [the Environmental Protection Agency] will ensure that the data and models underlying the science is publicly available in a manner sufficient for validation and analysis' by any third party. The intention of this regulation is 'to strengthen the transparency of EPA regulatory science.' The EPA is particularly looking for comments on a variety of details related to how such a regulation can 'best be promulgated and implemented in light of existing law and prior Federal policies that already require increasing public access to data and influential scientific information used to inform federal regulation.'

→ New Use Rule for Asbestos

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing 'a significant new use rule for asbestos as defined under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.' A significant new use rule requires notice to the EPA before chemical substances and mixtures are used in new ways that might cause concerns. The EPA 'has found no information indicating that the following uses are ongoing, and therefore, the following uses are subject to this proposed [significant new use rule]: Adhesives, sealants, and roof and non-roof coatings; arc chutes; beater-add gaskets; extruded sealant tape and other tape; filler for acetylene cylinders; high-grade electrical paper; millboard; missile liner; pipeline wrap; reinforced plastics; roofing felt; separators in fuel cells and batteries; vinyl-asbestos floor tile; and any other building material (other than cement).' Anyone subject to this significant new use rule is required to notify the EPA 'at least 90 days before commencing any manufacturing (including importing) or processing of asbestos (including as part of an article) for a significant new use. The required notification initiates EPA's evaluation of the conditions of use associated with the intended use within the applicable review period.'

→ Availability of problem formulation documents for first 10 chemicals undergoing risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Review Act

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The Environmental Protection Agency is 'publishing and taking comments on the problem formulation documents for the first 10 chemical substances undergoing risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act...The 10 problem formulation documents announced in this document are an additional interim step, prior to publication of the draft risk evaluations, that refine the scope documents.' Comments provided 'will inform the development of the draft risk evaluation documents;' comments will not be used to revise the problem formulation documents.

→ Guiding principals to apply systematic review in risk evaluations for the Toxic Substances Control Act

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The Environmental Protection Agency is accepting comments on the “Application of Systematic Review in TSCA Risk Evaluations,” 'which sets out general principles to guide the application of systematic review for [Toxic Substances Control Act] risk evaluations.' Systematic review principles are applied to the development development of risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act. 'The systematic review document includes a structured process of identifying, evaluating and integrating evidence for both the hazard and exposure assessments developed during the risk evaluation process.'

→ Review of Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for sulfur oxides

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to retain the existing air quality criteria for sulfur oxides. This decision is 'based on the  EPA's review of the air quality criteria addressing human health effects and the primary national ambient air quality standard.' There is not currently a public hearing scheduled; if the EPA 'receives a request from a member of the public to speak at a public hearing concerning the proposed decision,' they will hold one.

→ Clarifying Clean Water Act coverage of “Discharges of Pollutants”

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The Environmental Protection Agency is requesting comment on its previous statements that the Agency, under the Clean Water Act, may regulate 'pollutant discharges from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters via... a direct hydrologic connection' to surface waters already regulated under the Clean Water Act.  Comments are requested 'from tribes, states, members of the public, and other interested stakeholders regarding whether the Environmental Protection Agency should review and potentially revise its previous statements concerning the applicability of the Clean Water Act' to these type of pollutant discharges. More specific requests for comment related to this issue can be found here.

→ IRIS Assessment Plan for Ammonia

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The Environmental Protection Agency is calling for public comment on the recently released 'draft IRIS Assessment Plan for ammonia and ammonium salts. This document communicates information on the scoping needs identified by EPA program and regional offices and the IRIS Program's initial problem formulation activities. Specifically, the assessment plan outlines the objectives for each assessment and the type of evidence considered most pertinent to address the scoping needs.'

→ Risk Assessment for Glyphosate & Other Pesticides

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This notice announces the availability of the Environmental Protection Agency's draft human health and ecological risk assessments for the registration review of glyphosate, in addition to the following pesticides:

  • acetamiprid
  • acibenzolar
  • ametryn
  • ammonia/ammonium sulfate
  • butralin
  • naphthenate salts
  • prometon
  • pyrithiobac-sodium
  •  pymetrozine

"Registration review is EPA's periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory standard for registration, that is, the pesticide can perform its intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment."

→ Proposed repeal of the 2015 "Clean Power Plan"

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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a proposed repeal of the 2015 regulation known as the "Clean Power Plan" (officially the Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units). The Clean Power Plan established measures to cut power sector emissions to 32% of 2005 levels by 2030. In a review of the 2015 regulation, initiated by the March 2017 Executive Order 13783, the Environmental Protection Agency found that the Clean Power Plan 'exceeds the Agency's statutory authority', primarily regarding the interpretation of a section of the Clean Air Act that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to establish 'emission guidelines for existing sources that reflect the best system of emission reduction.'

*On November 8, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency published a notice extending the comment period to January 16, 2018. 

*On February 1, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency published a notice reopening the public comment period until April 26, 2018; this notice also announced three public listening sessions. 

 

→ Neonicotinoid Risk Assessment: Benefits Assessment

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The Environmental Protection Agency is requesting comments on 'benefits of neonicotinoid insecticide use in cotton and citrus. 'While [the Environmental Protection Agency] typically releases benefits assessments along with the proposed interim decisions, [the Agency] is releasing and obtaining public comment on these two benefits assessments at an earlier stage of the registration review process. These benefits assessments will help... evaluate the impacts of potential measures to reduce certain risks to pollinators identified' in previous preliminary assessments.' 

This notice also announces the availability of Environmental Protection Agency's 'draft ecological non-pollinator risk assessment for the registration review of imidacloprid, along with draft human health and non-pollinator ecological risk assessments for the registration review of clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran' (previously announced here). 'Finally, [the Environmental Protection Agency] is releasing a response to public comments on the Agency's 2014 assessment of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments to soybean production.'

 

→ Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors

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On January 9, 2017 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. OSHA concluded that employees exposed to beryllium and beryllium compounds at the preceding permissible exposure limits were at significant risk of material impairment of health. They therefore issued separate permissible exposure limits, short-term exposure limits, and a number of ancillary provisions for (1) general industry, (2) shipyards, and (3) construction. OSHA is now proposing to revoke the January 9 ancillary provisions for the construction and the shipyard sectors, but retain the new lower permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 0.2 μg/m3 and the short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2.0 μg/m3 for each sector. OSHA will not enforce the January 9, 2017 shipyard and construction standards without further notice while this new rulemaking is underway. This proposal does not affect the general industry beryllium standard published on January 9, 2017

→ Information Collection Request: “Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule and Revised Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan Rule”

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The Environmental Protection Agency is 'planning to renew an Information Collection Request on 'Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule and Revised Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan Rule.' 'The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act requires local education agencies to conduct inspections, develop management plans, and design or conduct response actions with respect to the presence of asbestos-containing materials in school buildings. The [Act] also requires states to develop model accreditation plans for persons who perform asbestos inspections, develop management control plans, and design or conduct response actions.' This particular information collection will address ' the burden associated with recordkeeping requirements imposed on local education agencies by the asbestos in schools rule, and reporting and recordkeeping requirements imposed on states and training providers related to the model accreditation plan rule.' The Environmental Protection Agency has provided a list of information which they are interested in receiving from public comment.

→ Systematic Review Protocol for Chloroform IRIS Assessment

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The Environmental Protection Agency `is announcing a 30-day public comment period associated with the Systematic Review Protocol for the IRIS Chloroform Assessment.' The IRIS Program 'is a human health assessment program that evaluates... risk information on effects that may result from exposure to chemicals found in the environment.'  The Protocol for the IRIS Chloroform Assessment 'describes the systematic review procedures and other methodology planned for use in developing the chloroform assessment.'

→ IRIS Assessment Plan for Uranium

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The Environmental Protection Agency `is announcing a 30-day public comment period associated with release of the draft IRIS Assessment Plan for Uranium.` The IRIS Program 'is a human health assessment program that evaluates... risk information on effects that may result from exposure to chemicals found in the environment.' The Environmental Protection Agency has identified 'scoping needs' and 'the IRIS Program's initial problem formulation activities. Specifically, the assessment plan outlines the objectives for each assessment and the type of evidence considered most pertinent to address the scoping needs.' The Environmental Protection Agency will also be holding 'a public science webinar planned on March 22, 2018' to review this draft IRIS Assessment Plan.