|'Sea Change' On Inerts Disclosure|
‘Sea Change’ on Inerts Disclosure
InsideEPA, Thursday, October 15, 2009
EPA has sent for White House review a pre-rule notice for its planned rulemaking to increase public disclosure of inert ingredients in pesticides in an effort “to effect a sea change” in how the information is made public.
The rule could assuage long-time concerns from activists about the ingredients and their impacts on the toxicity of the overall formulation. The agency Oct. 14 sent its pre-rule notice on the rulemaking to the White House Office of Management & Budget for review, a required step before the notice's publication in the Federal Register.
EPA first announced the inerts rulemaking in a Sept. 30 letter responding to two petitions asking that inert ingredients in pesticides be included on product labels. One petition was filed by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and supported by a number of activist groups; the second was filed by a group of state attorneys general, including those from California, New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New York.
“By embarking on such a rulemaking, EPA intends to effect a sea change in how inert ingredient information is made available to the public,” the letter says, which also indicates the agency hopes to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking by the end of the year.
“EPA is initiating rulemaking to increase the public availability of hazardous inert ingredient identities for specific pesticide formulations,” according to the letter. “In connection with this rulemaking EPA will also be discussing ideas to increase the disclosure of inert ingredient identities to an even greater degree than requested by the petitions, for example, by requiring disclosure of all inert ingredients, including ingredients not deemed hazardous.” EPA is considering regulatory and voluntary initiatives to achieve the broader disclosure, the letter says.
But EPA still faces “significant issues” with the regulatory actions being considered, including questions about “the criteria for determining what inert ingredient identities should be made public, the extent to which disclosure independent of hazard can be supported under existing law, whether a concentration threshold should trigger a disclosure requirement, whether public disclosure should be made on pesticide labels or other avenues (e.g. web resources), and what form the disclosed ingredient identities should take (e.g., Chemical Abstract Service names, trade names, common chemical names).”
Meanwhile, groups are also largely supportive of an Oct. 1 EPA announcement that pesticide registration actions, such as the first registration of a new active ingredient or use, will now be subject to public notice and comment. According to the EPA announcement, the agency will announce the action in the Federal Register and accept public comment for 30 days on actions including the first registration of a new active ingredient, food use, residential use and outdoor use.