The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed requiring companies to electronically file reports on the chemicals they use, a step designed to expand access to information now filed in Washington.
Much of this information is now contained on paper in EPA’s document library, hindering the ability of the public to review it and for outside groups to assess the risks of chemicals, according to Richard Denison, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington.
“This is an incremental, but I still think significant, improvement that will over time address a big problem,” Denison said in an e-mail.
Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA requires companies to provide analyses of certain chemicals they make or use, when they started making or using the chemicals, and on any related safety tests.
The agency today proposed mandating that those reports be submitted through its electronic system. It’s not changing what information the manufacturers or sellers must submit. Companies and other interested parties will have 60 days to comment on the proposal before the EPA finalizes it.
The EPA is committed to “increasing the public’s access to chemical information,” Jim Jones, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s office on chemicals, said in a statement. “The agency is also committed to reducing reporting burdens.”
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