E&C Leaders Demand Health and Safety Studies from EPA
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler today requesting that EPA immediately release the health and safety studies it used to conduct its risk evaluation of Pigment Violet 29 (PV29), a chemical commonly found in paints and plastics.
When EPA published its draft risk evaluation for public comment, all of the health and safety studies used in the evaluation were hidden and wrongly marked as “Confidential Business Information” (CBI). On January 30, the Committee leaders first asked EPA to produce these studies. In a February 15 response, EPA acknowledged that such a designation is unlawful for studies submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but has still not produced the studies in question.
“TSCA does not allow health and safety studies submitted under the Act or used by the EPA under the Act to be protected as Confidential Business Information (CBI). EPA’s decision to label those health and safety studies as CBI was contrary to the statute and has impaired transparency,” the Committee leaders wrote. “Although we received a response from you on February 15 acknowledging that the studies were not eligible for protection under TSCA, EPA did not provide the requested studies. We are, therefore, forced to renew that request.”
In its response, EPA argued it was protecting the studies that it relied on to make its decision under general CBI regulations, rather than the specific CBI provisions established in the TSCA revisions.
“We appreciate your concession that the specific CBI provisions in TSCA do not support the protection of any health and safety studies as CBI. However, we take issue with your argument that you have separate, additional authority to mask health and safety information used under TSCA because that argument is contradicted by the plain language of the statute and your own regulations,” Pallone and Tonko continued in their letter to Wheeler.
EPA’s draft risk evaluation found no unreasonable risk from PV29, despite the fact it belongs to a class of chemicals linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, immune impacts and neurological damage. EPA’s efforts to conceal the studies it used to dismiss these health impacts undermines transparency and the credibility of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which updated the TSCA program.
The committee leaders are requesting that the studies be provided to the Committee and made public by Monday, March 25.
Full text of the letter can be found HERE.