Too many chemical companies hide behind claims of “trade secrets” to mislead or create false impressions in the market place, and sometimes gain advantages by their misrepresentation.
Everyone gets hurt.
Confidential Business Information (CBI) had been created to protect legitimate commercial interest regarding chemical manufacturing trade secrets. But it had become obvious to the EPA that this was being abused and the health and environmental risk is the much greater issue.
In January 2010 the EPA announced its plan to begin rejecting CBI claims on chemicals listed on the public portion of the Toxic Substance and Control Act (TSCA) inventory. And more recently the EPA took this even further. In May the EPA published a notice indicating that it would begin routinely reviewing CBI claims regarding all chemical entities that are part of a health/safety study. The EPA explained that, where a chemical identity does not explicitly contain manufacturing process information or reveal portions of a chemical mixture, the chemical identity will not receive confidential treatment. The EPA further proposed amendments to the TSCA in August to require CBI claims to be accompanied by an upfront, detailed, written explanation of why the chemical identity should be confidential. Read EPA article.
Lets all hope that the EPA remains steadfast, and pushes these regulations for increased transparency and increased public access to this information. Manufacturers can still protect their formulations, but we need these regulations and transparencies to understand the health and environmental risks, ultimately moving manufactures towards the greenest solutions possible.
Here’s a hot topic to keep an eye on. The Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) sued Oregon State Forester and several timber companies because sediment from the logging roads was polluting salmon streams and killing fish. Additionally they claim they did not have NEDC stormwater permitting they were breaking the law. In some places the TSS was more than 2000 times the regulatory levels!
First court said NEDC lost because the timber industry is exempt because of Siliviculture Laws and related agricultural laws. However the 9th District court overturned, saying that the discharge was illegal and that agricultural laws did not allow exemption from discharges from point sources and that the Oregon EPA did not have the right to change the definition of point source. There reasoning was the sediment was carried by ditches, culverts or channels (all man made) that they were discrete conveyances and therefore point source discharges requiring by law NEDC permitting.
Court also ruled that EPA has to write regulations to reduce sediment delivery into waters of the US from point sources. This is EPA region 9 and covers: OR, WA, CA, AZ, NV, ID and MT. Read entire article.
What should be noted is that these are considered low-volume roads and can easily be treated to solve this dust control/soil stabilization problem.
There have been similar lawsuits, notably one in Pennsylvania where runoffs from dirt and gravel roads where effecting trout streams. After regulations where created, Midwest had two of their products approved for use to help solve the problem.
It is reasonable that the EPA will jump on this and create new regulations. With 7 states involved, this is no small issue.