Manufacturers May Struggle to Keep Up w/EPA’s Aggressive Schedule to Pass New Chemical Regs

by | May 10, 2017

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, was passed in June of 2016 and made sweeping changes to the nation’s primary chemical law. The new law requires the EPA to implement the changes through a number of regulations, which are critical for companies to stay abreast of and respond to.

Those rules relate to reporting on chemicals active in commerce or imports, risk evaluations of those compounds, how they are used, and specific controls to prevent harmful exposures. The EPA has an aggressive schedule to implement the law, including 17 proposed rules, which it put out for comment in March, Mary Ann Grena Manley, deputy editorial director of Bloomberg BNA told Environmental Leader. With the potentially fast-moving schedule to put the law into place, manufacturers could be hard-pressed to keep up – which can lead to fines and even loss of license to practice business.

On the other hand, a better understand of state and federal requirements can help companies to not only avoid fines, but to manage resources, time, and shifting priorities. Bloomberg BNA says its new Chemicals Management Guide offers help with these challenges, providing in-depth analysis, primary source material, chart builders and guidance to help compliance professionals easily get or stay in compliance.

The Bloomberg BNA Chemicals Management Guide offers a blueprint for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the chemical regulatory frameworks for each state and links that information to the company’s proprietary collection of integrated environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and agency documents.

Ignoring chemical compliance laws can be costly. Last month, two California retailers faced millions of dollars for improperly disposing of hazardous waste, including products with toxic chemicals. Big Lots was found to have been disposing hazardous waste into its trash bins at stores throughout California, as well as transporting hazardous waste to landfills not permitted to receive such waste, and was ordered to pay more than $3.5 million in fines, while Dollar General parent company was ordered to pay $1.125 million as a settlement in a lawsuit alleging that Dollar General retail stores throughout the state illegally disposed of hazardous waste in waste bins at retail and distribution locations, and that toxic and corrosive items were routinely being sent to landfills that were not permitted to receive that type of waste.

In Virginia, factories and other facilities released about 35 million pounds of toxic chemicals into land, air and water in 2005, according to the EPA (via Capital News Service). More than half of that pollution came from just five facilities, including the Honeywell International plant in Hopewell. That plant paid more than $700,000 in fines for violations of the Clean Air and Water Act, and paid $3 million in penalties. Honeywell has spent more than $50 million on EHS improvements since 2010, a company spokesperson said.

In Massachusetts, two companies have also been fined for chemical violations. An Eastman Chemical subsidiary Solutia Inc., which produces synthetic organic chemical products like plastics and adhesives using a highly flammable vinyl acetate monomer, has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of more than $15,000. And an inspection of nearby Performance Food Group found unsafe conditions relating to the company’s use of anhydrous ammonia for its refrigeration system, according to Chem.Info. The company also failed to file a required risk management plan relating to storing large amounts of the chemical. The company was ordered by the EPA to pay more than $184,000 in fines.



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