News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

Chemical Manufacturers Beware: EPA Releases Formerly Confidential Chemical Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making it more difficult for chemical manufacturers to protect chemical names in reports filed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”).  In a recent press release, U.S. EPA announced that it is making available to the public hundreds of studies on chemicals that had been treated as confidential business information (“CBI”).  The move is part of EPA’s plan to make public the chemicals that are not entitled to CBI status.  Since 2009, 577 formerly confidential chemical identities are no longer confidential and more than 1,000 health and safety studies are now accessible to the public that were previously unavailable or only available in limited circumstances.

Under TSCA, companies may claim that information they submit to EPA should be treated as CBI and not be disclosed to the public. Under Section 8(e) of TSCA, companies that manufacture, process, or distribute chemicals are required to immediately provide notice to EPA if they learn that a chemical presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment. Section 8(e) reports are made available on EPA’s website, but when a chemical has been claimed confidential by a company, the chemical name is removed on the public report.  Manufacturers seek CBI to protect information from disclosure to competitors that would deprive them of the value of their innovations or formulas.

Under the new policy, EPA plans to reject certain CBI designations protecting chemical names:

“As mentioned, part of this effort has involved the tightening of EPA’s CBI policies, first on January 21, 2010, when EPA said it planned to reject CBI claims for chemicals submitted to EPA with studies that show a substantial risk to people’s health and the environment and that have been previously disclosed on the TSCA Chemical Inventory.  In a follow-up policy change issued May 27, 2010, EPA said it planned to generally deny confidentiality claims for and the identity of chemicals in health and safety studies filed under the TSCA, except in specified circumstances.”

For more information on EPA’s policy shift, see “Increasing Transparency in TSCA” on EPA’s web page.

Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments. To subscribe to this blog and and sign up for my free newsletter, go to To set up a free initial consultation to discuss your legal matter, please contact Chicago environmental attorney Dave Scriven-Young at (312) 239-9722 or

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