Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out a proposed screening level methodology to evaluate chemical exposures and risks to fenceline communities. There are serious flaws in the Agency’s proposed approach and significant changes must be made to the proposal if EPA is to meet the scientific requirements mandated by TSCA.
In formal comments we recently submitted to EPA we have outlined several problems with its proposed fenceline screening level approach. In addition, this week we’re providing oral comments to the Agency’s TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, which has importantly been asked conduct peer-review of the proposal.
A few highlights of ACC’s concerns and our suggested remedies include:
Just as EPA’s Exposure Assessment Guidelines recommend completing exposure assessments iteratively using a tiered approach, so should its proposed screening level approach. An explicit tiered approach would provide much-needed efficiencies to the process and transparency to stakeholders regarding EPA’s decision-making process.
The approach as proposed fails to consider significant fenceline exposure assessment activity and expertise already existing in other EPA offices and state regulatory agencies. The Agency must look to, and where appropriate, should rely on these as opposed to duplicating efforts and potentially wasting time and resources.
The proposed approach’s reliance on Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data is concerning. If EPA insists on incorporating TRI data into its fenceline screening level approach, those data need to be subject to a data quality assessment so that the variability and uncertainties associated with them are well understood, documented, and accounted for. TRI data in particular, while valuable for some purposes, are not sufficiently reliable to serve as the basis for a determination of unreasonable risk under TSCA.
American Chemistry Council, 14-03-22