Organisation - US EPA 517 ©W.Scott McGill - stock.adobe.comThe US EPA has again decided against petitioners requesting that the agency expand reporting obligations for asbestos under TSCA.

The development came in response to a 31 January petition, submitted by more than a dozen state attorneys general, who had asked that the agency develop an asbestos reporting rule under section 8 of TSCA.

In their TSCA section 21 petition, the state AGs argued that additional information was needed to support the agency’s ongoing risk evaluation of asbestos and potential subsequent risk management actions. And they requested the agency “address infirmities” in existing reporting requirements, such as by applying chemical data reporting (CDR) rule requirements to processors and eliminating certain exemptions.

But, as was the case for a similar petition submitted by a group of NGOs, the agency has denied the request.

According to a pre-publication Federal Register notice laying out its reasoning for doing so, the EPA said it does not believe that imposing the requested reporting requirements would result in the collection of “data the petitioners believe the agency lacks”.

“Since asbestos was announced in December 2016 as one of the first ten chemicals for evaluation under TSCA, the agency has conducted market research, public outreach, voluntary data collection, collaborative work with other federal and state agencies, and stakeholder engagement,” it said.

The agency also pointed out that it has recently finalised a significant new use rule (Snur) that will require notification for any use of asbestos that is neither ongoing nor already prohibited under TSCA. Its risk evaluation, meanwhile, will assess whether any of the ongoing uses not covered by the Snur pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment.

‘Deeply disappointed’

In a statement, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) president and CEO Linda Reinstein said she was “deeply disappointed, but not at all surprised by” the EPA’s denial of the state AGs’ petition.

However, the law allows a petitioner to file a lawsuit to try to compel the agency to initiate a requested rulemaking within 60 days of a petition denial. And this was the approach taken by the ADAO and other NGOs earlier this year, after the EPA turned down their similar petition.