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The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army are collecting public comment on a ‘proposed rule defining the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. This proposal is the second step in a comprehensive, two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” [put forth in a 2015 rule] consistent with the Executive Order signed on February 28, 2017, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the `Waters of the United States' Rule.” ’ The proposal would restrict the definition of “waters of the United States” to ‘Traditional navigable waters, including the territorial seas; tributaries that contribute perennial or intermittent flow to such waters; certain ditches; certain lakes and ponds; impoundments of otherwise jurisdictional waters; and wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters.’
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury and hazardous air pollutants produced by coal- and oil-fired power plants (‘electric generating units’) under the Clean Air Act. This proposal comes ‘after considering the cost of compliance relative to the… benefits of regulation,’ from which the Agency concluded that the costs outweighed the benefits of regulation. The Agency is soliciting comments ‘on whether the [Environmental Protection Agency] has the authority or obligation to delist [electric generating units]’ and / or ‘rescind the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Coil- and Oil-Fired Electric Generating Units, commonly known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.’
The Environmental Protection Agency is also accepting comments on ‘establishing a subcategory for emissions of acid gas hazardous air pollutants from existing coal refuse.’
The Environmental Protection Agency is ‘proposing significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act for 66 chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices… This action would require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of these 66 chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use to notify [the Environmental Protection Agency] at least 90 days before commencing that activity.’ Notifying the Environmental Protection Agency will allow the agency ‘to assess risks that may be presented by the intended uses and, if appropriate, to regulate the proposed use before it occurs .’
The Environmental Protection Agency ‘is requesting nominations of chemical and microbial contaminants that are not currently regulated, for possible inclusion on the fifth drinking water Contaminant Candidate List.’ The existing list consists of 97 chemicals and 12 microbial contaminants. Nominations should include ‘information showing the nominated contaminant is known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and indicating the nominated contaminant may require regulation due to the potential for adverse effects on the health of persons.’
The Environmental Protection Agency is opening 74 public dockets, one for each of the 73 remaining chemicals on the 2014 Update to the [Toxic Substances Control Act] Work Plan for Chemical Assessments… and an additional general docket for chemicals not on the Work Plan. Te Work Plan provides a list of existing chemicals for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Environmental Protection Agency is also ‘interested in the public's input on chemicals not on the 2014 Update to the [Toxic Substances Control Act] Work Plan for Chemical Assessments for consideration as potential candidates for prioritization’ under the Act. ‘By providing the public with a venue for submitting use, hazard, and exposure information on these chemicals, the Environmental Protection Agency is facilitating the sharing of information by stakeholders and the general public that could update the information EPA currently has on the chemicals on the 2014 Update to the [Toxic Substances Control Act] Work Plan for Chemical Assessments. EPA will use this data to inform [Toxic Substances Control Act] prioritization and risk evaluation for these chemicals.’
‘This Notice announces the availability of a document: A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization. The document lays out the Environmental Protection Agency's near-term approach for identifying potential chemicals for prioritization, the initial step in evaluating the safety of existing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The document also includes a longer-term risk-based approach for considering the larger [Toxic Substances Control Act] active chemical universe.’ The Environmental Protection Agency is ‘opening a public docket to accept comments on this approach, which will inform a public meeting to be held in early 2019.’
The Environmental Protection Agency ‘requests public nominations of scientific experts to be considered for ad hoc participation on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel… All nominees will be considered for ad hoc participation providing independent scientific advice to the EPA on health and safety issues related to pesticides. The [Panel] is comprised of biologists, statisticians, toxicologists and other experts and is assisted in their reviews by members of the Food Quality Protection Act Science Review Board.’
‘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.’
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 issues… No 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].’
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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.'