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Thursday, September 11, 2014

What you don’t know could hurt you: Petition asks EPA to limit duration of chemical trade secret claims

It may come as a surprise to those not familiar with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the primary law that regulates chemicals used in the US that go into products other than cosmetics, drugs and pesticides – to learn that about 15,000 chemicals on the TSCA inventory have their identities claimed as trade secrets. According to an analysis included in the petition filed with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 21st by Earthjustice and five other non-profits, approximately 62.5 percent of the 24,000 chemicals added to the TSCA inventory since 1982 cannot be “meaningfully identified by the public” because their names are claimed as confidential business information. This masking of chemical identities can often hamper public access to health and safety information about these substances and make it hard for those working with such chemicals to fully understand what they may be exposed to.
TSCA requires the EPA to maintain an inventory of chemicals used and manufactured in the US and requires manufacturers and importers of new chemicals to submit health and safety data to the EPA as part of new chemical registration. However TSCA, also allows chemical identities to be claimed as trade secrets if revealing that information would – in the opinion of the manufacturer – jeopardize  confidential manufacturing processes or formulas.
What Earthjustice, the Environmental Defense Fund, Breast...
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