Web Date: February 11, 2011
EPA Naming Secret Names
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to release the identities of 14 chemicals that were claimed as trade secrets in toxicity studies required to be submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The agency on Feb. 10 sent letters to five chemical manufacturers warning them it will release the identities of the substances to the public in mid-March. However, EPA will defer its actions if the companies file a challenge in federal court.
The five companies are Givaudan Fragrances, Japan Technical Information Center, JSR Micro, Nalco, and Promerus LLC.
As part of health and safety studies sent to EPA, the companies claimed the names of their substances as confidential business information, the agency says. EPA employees and contractors face threat of criminal prosecution if they release data claimed as confidential under that law.
The agency announced a year ago it would crack down on improper secrecy claims for the identity of chemicals in health and safety studies sent to the agency. TSCA tightly limits confidentiality assertions for chemical identities in these studies, though companies in the past have often made such claims (C&EN, April 19, 2010, page 28)
"The public deserves access to critical health and safety information on chemicals, but if the name of the chemical is kept secret in the health and safety report, the information is of no real value to people," said Steven Owens, EPA assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention.
EPA says it plans to warn more companies and release more names of chemicals improperly claimed as confidential in health and safety studies.
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