WASHINGTON — With changes to chemical regulation unlikely to come out of Congress any time soon, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asserting its regulatory authority, announcing Tuesday that it is increasing the amount of data available to the public on regulated chemicals.
The changes are being made to its year-old “one-stop online tool,” ChemView, the EPA said in a news release, which provides information on chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA also is encouraging users to complete a short survey to help guide continuous improvements to ChemView.
“In the absence of TSCA reform, EPA is moving ahead to improve access to chemical health and safety information, and increase the dialogue to help the public choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in a release. “The additional data along with a customer satisfaction survey will make chemical information more readily available for decision-makers and consumers.”
The increased information includes improved display and additional content for the Chemical Data Reporting information, a new link to the pollution prevention information generated as part of the Toxics Release Inventory program. The updated database also includes new consent orders, more than 1,200 significant new use rules for new and existing chemicals, 16 additional chemicals with test rule data and updates to the Safer Chemicals Ingredient List.
ChemView includes all publicly available information, with the intention of making information easier to search and understand for both chemical experts — from manufacturers to plastics processors — and consumers. To protect property information, EPA uses generic chemical names and generic uses, the agency said.
The both chambers of Congress have been under increasing pressure to update the 1970s TSCA law, but so far no progress has been made. In light of the legislative problems, environmentalists have been urging EPA to increase public access to chemical safety information and set tighter limits on how long information can be considered confidential by the chemical industry.