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Chemical Sector Concerned About EPA Evaluations of New Materials

Chemical industry groups are reportedly urging the Environmental Protection Agency to alter its evaluation procedures amid a growing backlog of applications for new chemicals.

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Chemical industry groups are reportedly urging the Environmental Protection Agency to alter its evaluation procedures amid a growing backlog of applications for new chemicals.

Chemical Watch reports that several groups complained to agency officials at a public meeting last week.

The Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, which passed this summer, overhauled the nation's chemical evaluation process for the first time in 40 years — including a stipulation that the EPA issue affirmative decisions about new substances.

The industry broadly supported the long-overdue changes to chemical laws, but groups said last week that the EPA should reconsider new procedures related to new chemicals.

The American Chemistry Council indicated that 350 filings for new chemicals — known as pre-manufacture notices — were pending when the Lautenberg Act was passed. After the law took effect, 200 additional substances were filed and just 27 were cleared by the agency.

"Right now, innovation is stuck, because completion of new chemical reviews has ground to a halt," the ACC's Karyn Schmidt wrote prior to the meeting, according to CW.

The American Petroleum Institute and American Alliance for Innovation also reportedly voiced concerns about the current process.

EPA officials, meanwhile, countered that companies could speed up the evaluations by including more information in their applications, and the Environmental Defense Fund rejected industry arguments that the government should focus on innovation and production in the U.S. chemical sector.

"The changes that were made were a compromise on both sides but they were not insignificant, and the new requirements are clearly laid out in the language of the Lautenberg Act," EDF's Joanna Slaney told CW.
 

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