Confidential Status of TSCA Inventory Chemicals Revised

In late April 2021, a list of several hundred chemical substances was released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The list encompasses chemicals whose confidential status is expected to be lifted. Here we review the topic of confidential business information (CBI) and consider this forthcoming loss of confidentiality.

Confidential Business Information

As its name implies, confidential business information describes information that is considered to be private or restricted to the business entity that submits it. By its nature, such information is likely to have a detrimental effect on the business if made available to others. CBI status may be requested by businesses for a variety of reasons, including to prevent other ones from gaining a competitive advantage.

According to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 14(b), certain types of information may not be protected as CBI. Among these are:

  • health and safety study information for commercially distributed chemical substances
  • manufacturing volume information conveyed as particular aggregated volumes
  • general information related to the uses and functions of a chemical or mixture

Per the EPA, making a business confidentiality claim under TSCA requires that the claimant has done the following:

  • taken steps to secure the information’s confidentiality
  • ascertained that making the information publicly available is not required by law
  • determined there is a logical basis to conclude that information disclosure would negatively impact the competitive standing of the business
  • determined it is logical to conclude that reverse engineering would not make the information discoverable

Increasing Transparency of Information

The EPA has committed itself to increasing transparency in both its information and its endeavors, and this recent chemical list release represents an important step in the Agency’s efforts to do so. The list includes 390 chemicals (by accession number) likely to move to the TSCA Inventory's public section as their confidential status is lost.

One or more chemical manufacturers reported the substances as non-confidential during one of the last Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule reporting cycles (2012, 2016, or 2020). The Agency intends to declassify the chemicals' identities as a result. The specific identities of these chemical substances are expected to be released by the EPA with the forthcoming updated TSCA Inventory.

The list of chemical accession numbers may be accessed on the EPA’s website. Relevant stakeholders must inform the Agency of any errors or inconsistencies discovered on the list by June 30th of this year.

Access to Additional Vital Information

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