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November 20, 2013
o-Nitrotoluene added to TRI list

In a final rule, the EPA has added ortho-nitrotoluene (o-nitrotoluene), a high-production volume (HPV) chemical, to the list of substances subject to reporting under the federal toxics release inventory (TRI, section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)). 

The addition follows classification of o-nitrotoluene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).  The final rule applies to reporting years beginning January 1, 2014, which means the first TRI data on o-nitrotoluene are due by July 1, 2015.  The EPA says it received no comments on its March 13, 2013, proposal to add the substance to the TRI list.

Uses and production volume

According to the NTP’s 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), o-nitrotoluene is used primarily in the manufacture of chemicals that are intermediates in the production of various azo dyes.  It is also used in the manufacture of or the manufacture of intermediates for other dyes, such as magenta and various sulfur dyes for cotton, wool, silk, leather, and paper.  In addition, it is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of or the synthesis of intermediates for explosives and a variety of organic chemicals, including compounds used in the ag­ricultural chemical, pesticide, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and rubber industries.

U.S. production of o-nitrotoluene was calculated at 29 million pounds for 1981 and 35.5 million pounds for 1993. Reports filed between 1986 and 2002 under EPA’s Toxic Substances Con­trol Act Inventory Update Rule indicated that U.S. production plus imports of o-nitrotoluene totaled 10 million to 50 million pounds.  Given those numbers, o-nitrotoluene easily meets the EPA’s definition of an HPV chemical—any chemical produced or imported in the United States in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year. 

TRI listing criteria

Substances qualify for addition to the TRI list if they are known to cause or can be reasonably anticipated to cause detrimental effects and also meet volume thresholds.  EPCRA specifies that a chemical qualifies for listing if it falls under one or more of three effects criteria—an acute human health effects criterion, a chronic human health effects criterion, or an environmental effects criterion.  The EPA states that it agreed with data in the 12th RoC, which indicated that o-nitrotoluene can be reasonably anticipated to cause cancer.

Under the TRI threshold provision, reporting is triggered if a facility manufactures or processes 25,000 pounds of a listed chemical per year or otherwise uses 10,000 pounds per year.  

The EPA requires that either Form R or Form A be used in reporting TRI chemicals.  Form R is comprehensive while the much shorter Form A may be used if the total reportable amount of the chemical does not exceed 500 pounds per year, and the amount manufactured, processed, or otherwise used is less than 1 million pounds.  The Agency says it expects 17 Form Rs and 5 Form As to be filed for o-nitrotoluene.  

The final rule was published in the November 7, 2013, FR.

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