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February 25, 2013
2012 chemical data report issued

New nonconfidential information on chemical production volume and chemicals used in consumer products and children’s products highlights EPA’s 2012 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) results.

The latest information covers reports submitted to the EPA by chemical manufacturers (which include importers) for 2011.  Formerly called the Inventory Update Rule (IUR), the CDR rule is authorized under Section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which directs the EPA to collect certain manufacturing, processing, and use information from chemical manufacturers.  The previous report was issued in 2006 and covered information reported for 2005.

According to the EPA, the CDR inventory constitutes the most comprehensive source of basic screening-level, exposure-related information on chemicals available to the Agency.  Types of information reported include chemical or mixture identity, categories of use, quantity manufactured or processed, by-product description, number of individuals exposed, and method(s) of disposal.

Limits of TSCA

What the CDR does not contain is information from manufacturers on the potential harm the chemicals they manufacture can cause.  The absence and need for that type of information was noted by departing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in announcing the latest CDR results.  During her tenure, Jackson has called on Congress to reform TSCA by compelling companies to submit more health effects information on the chemicals they manufacture.  Several bills have been introduced; one received committee approval but did not advance to a floor debate.

Rule changes

The 2012 CDR results reflect information submitted to the EPA up until August 13, 2012.  The requirements for the current report included the following changes from the previous reporting rules:

  • Production volume was reported for 2 years (2010 and 2011) in contrast to the 1 year (2005) volume reported.  Additional manufacturing information, such as volume used on-site and whether the chemical was recycled, was also reported for the first time.
  • The production volume reporting threshold for processing and use information was lowered to 100,000 lb from 300,000 lb.
  • Consumer and commercial uses were reported separately.  According to the EPA, this was done to allow the Agency and the public to better understand which chemicals are in children’s products.  The first-time data showed that 194 chemicals were reported for consumer use only, and 1,563 chemicals were for commercial use only. 
  • Up-front substantiation was required for confidentiality claims for each processing and use data element.

Data comparisons

Comparisons with the previous report showed 1,515 companies reporting in 2012 compared with 1,541 in 2006; 4,753 sites reporting in 2012 compared with 3,827 in 2006; 7,674 chemicals reported for 2012 compared with 6,200 in 2006; 5,507 chemicals reported with industrial process and use information for 2012 compared with 2,993 in 2006; and 354 chemicals reported as used in children’s products for 2012 compared with 263 in 2006.

Click here for access to the public version of the 2012 CDR.

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