The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered a strong rebuke to the Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementation of the nation’s chemical safety law, protecting key aspects of the public’s right to know about the toxic chemicals in our homes, schools, and workplaces.
The Court agreed with EDF that EPA had failed to require companies to show that the identities of their chemicals cannot be reverse-engineered in order to claim them confidential under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The Court remanded the rule back to EPA to require that companies make this showing to claim confidentiality. The Court also affirmed that other key TSCA requirements apply to confidentiality claims despite EPA’s failure to include them in its regulations.
“This decision is a significant win for public disclosure and a strong affirmation by the Court of the public’s right to know about the chemicals to which we all are or may be exposed. The Court ruled that EPA must require companies to provide real substantiation for their claims for confidentiality – and that EPA had failed to do so in the rule we challenged,” said Robert Stockman, Senior Attorney at Environmental Defense Fund. “EPA will now have to require significantly more evidence from companies before they can conceal the identities of chemicals they make and sell. As a result, fewer such claims will be allowed and workers, consumers and the public will gain access to more information about those chemicals.”
In the case, EDF v. EPA (D.C. Cir. 17-1201), EDF aimed to ensure that EPA upholds the requirements set forth in the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to maximize transparency and public knowledge about which chemicals are currently in use by narrowing the grounds for asserting confidentiality claims and requiring more scrutiny of them. The Court affirmed that these requirements apply despite EPA’s failure to incorporate them into its regulation.
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