The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued two proposed rules last week that would require manufacturers and importers of dozens of high production volume chemicals to provide health, environmental and usage data.  EPA also issued  a final rule that requires manufacturers to test the health and environmental effects of 15 high production volume (HPV) chemicals

In 1998, EPA concluded that there were significant gaps in the basic data needed to understand and characterize the potential hazards associated with certain HPV chemicals. HPV chemicals are classified as those chemicals produced or imported in the United States in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year.  In the High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program, companies were “challenged” by EPA to make health and environmental effects data publicly available on chemicals produced or imported in the United States in the greatest quantities.  As of June 2007, companies sponsored more than 2,200 HPV chemicals, with approximately 1,400 chemicals sponsored directly through the HPV Challenge Program and over 860 chemicals sponsored indirectly through international efforts.

One proposal would require manufacturers to test the health and environmental effects of an additional 23 HPV chemicals, and the other proposal would require companies to notify EPA prior to new uses of an additional 22 chemicals that are widely used in commerce. Both new rules would be issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which itself is the subject of Congressional scrutiny.

The 1998 High Production Volume Challenge did not provide adequate data for the 45 chemicals covered by the two proposed rules, according to EPA. Observers believe the proposed rules will likely affect chemical manufacturing and petroleum refineries.

Public comments must be received on or before January 19, 2012.