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Toxics

OMB Reportedly Seeks Alternative Risk Estimates In EPA Cancer Guide

White House regulatory officials are reportedly seeking the inclusion of language in EPA's long-awaited revisions to its cancer risk assessment guidelines that would require the agency to present chemical safety estimates to protect a smaller percentage of the general population alongside its more conventional estimates.

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EPA TO PROPOSE RULE ON WATER PERMITTING FOR PESTICIDE USE

EPA plans to propose a rule that will clarify when aerial pesticide applications over waterbodies require Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits, agency sources say. The sources say the agency plans to unveil its proposal Jan. 27, instead of finalizing a 2003 interim guidance that said CWA permits were not needed if pesticide use complies with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act. An EPA source said earlier this month that a final document would resemble the interim guidance, which did not require permits.

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DPR CHIEF CALLS FOR RENEWED IPM FOCUS AS REPORT SHOWS USE INCREASE

While releasing data showing a slight increase in the amount of pesticides used in 2003, pesticides department director Mary-Ann Warmerdam said she will renew the department's emphasis on encouraging integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, an effort that has suffered from budget cuts in recent years. The department's newly released pesticide use report shows that pesticide applications went up about 4% from 2002, marking the second straight year pesticide use has increased.

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CHILDREN'S HEALTH ISSUES RAISED OVER BROWNFIELDS SCREENING LEVELS

Cal/EPA's new brownfields screening levels have sparked environmentalists' worries over just how effective they will be. Concerns about children's health and vapor intrusion have delayed the release of the long-awaited California Human Health Screening Levels (CHHSLs).

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RESIDENTS' DIOXIN TORT LAWSUIT MAY PROMPT EPA-MONITORED CLEANUP

A lawsuit alleging widespread dioxin contamination near a closed Pharmacia Corp. chemical plant raises the prospect of a massive cleanup that could prompt EPA oversight even though the agency has no legal obligation to act, according to agency officials and sources involved in the suit. The case could demonstrate whether a class action lawsuit can force a federal cleanup response.

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CALIFORNIA VAPOR GUIDE SETS STRICT RISK LEVELS FOR FUTURE SITE USES

California has developed the first indoor air contamination guidance requiring regulators to use conservative assumptions about future risks to account for uncertainty about contaminated sites' future use.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS SEEK NAS CLARIFICATION ON PERCHLORATE STUDY

Environmentalists are asking the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for a public statement clarifying that its recent perchlorate risk report was mischaracterized by mainstream media reports that said proposed regulatory standards for the pollutant should be relaxed.

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NAS PERCHLORATE STUDY MAY NOT FORCE WEAKER EPA STANDARDS

Despite finding that EPA's risk estimate for perchlorate is overly strict, the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) long-awaited report on the chemical may not force EPA to weaken its cleanup standard because the agency must still consider key policy questions that the NAS did not address.

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PERCHLORATE STUDY UNLIKELY TO SOON SETTLE EPA-DOD CLEANUP FIGHT

The National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) recent study criticizing EPA's risk estimate for perchlorate is unlikely to quickly resolve the long-running dispute between the agency and the Defense Department (DOD) over cleaning up the ubiquitous contaminant.

While the study criticized EPA's risk estimate for perchlorate as overly strict, the panel left it to the agency to translate the risk estimate into a drinking water standard, which regulators use as a cleanup level.

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Efforts To Simplify EU Chemical Testing Plan May Ease Passage

A move to dramatically simplify the European Union's controversial chemical registration plan is gaining momentum among Parliament legislators and could speed its passage, sources following the legislation say.

The legislation -- termed Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) -- has drawn opposition not just from European chemical manufacturers but also from many in the United States because it would cover imports into Europe, while environmentalists have been touting it as a model for reforming U.S. chemical regulation.

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