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Toxics

EPA PLAN FOR SETTING SELENIUM PERMIT LIMITS COULD BE MODEL FOR MERCURY

EPA is proposing a controversial mathematical formula to calculate permit limits for a new fish tissue-based water quality criterion for selenium, a plan that may foreshadow how the agency will develop similar permit limits for its mercury fish tissue standard.

EPA officials say the plan for developing selenium permit limits could draw fire from industry officials opposed to agency efforts to develop a similar plan for mercury.

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EPA STUDIES COULD SPARK NEW RISK LEVELS FOR ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS

Three new EPA-funded animal studies examining the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals at extremely low doses could fine-tune agency risk levels for the controversial substances, environmentalist and agency sources say, which had been set by making extrapolations from high-dose effects.

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EPA FACES PRESSURE TO INCLUDE NEUROLOGIC TESTS IN PESTICIDE DECISIONS

EPA is facing 11th-hour pressure from children's health groups to routinely require tests evaluating the impact of pesticides on children's nervous systems when registering the chemicals.

The request comes as agency pesticide officials are finalizing negotiations with the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) over proposed revisions to regulatory requirements for data that support decisions on pesticide registration.

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LONG-AWAITED EPA GUIDANCE ON METAL RISKS ECHOES INDUSTRY CRITICISM

EPA's long-overdue draft framework for assessing the risks from metals emphasizes the need to incorporate more factors specific to these pollutants, echoing industry criticism of the agency's current risk review practices and possibly paving the way for relaxed toxic release reporting requirements.

In issuing the draft framework document Dec. 3, more than a year after it was promised, EPA is one step closer to completing a regulatory-review process begun in 2002, which was aimed at updating its metals risk assessments.

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EPA Pressed To Include Neurotoxicity Tests In Pesticide Decisons

EPA is facing an 11th-hour push from children's health advocates to require industry to routinely test neurological effects of pesticides on children.

The request comes as the agency's pesticide officials are in final negotiations with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over proposed revisions to regulatory requirements for data that support pesticide registration decisions.

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EPA Funds Research To Adjust Risk Levels For Endocrine Disruptors

Three newly EPA-funded animal studies examining the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals at extremely low doses promise to fine-tune agency risk levels for the controversial substances, environmentalist and agency sources say. But some scientists are complaining that EPA research dollars would be better spent on human studies, saying it is time to start confirming findings from previous animal research.

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EPA EYES FIRST RULES FOR HIGH-VOLUME CHEMICALS BASED ON NEW DATA

EPA has laid out a major expansion of its effort to compile toxicity data on high-volume chemicals by announcing plans for more test rules and opening the door to including more chemicals in the program, while signaling a shift toward developing first-time regulations based on information gathered from the program, according to sources involved in the effort.

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EPA GRAPPLES WITH TSCA REQUIREMENTS IN KEY BIOTECHNOLOGY PROPOSAL

EPA will extend the comment period on a first-of-its-kind proposal on data requirements for registering bio-based enzymes at a time when the agency is grappling with how the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) should apply to the increasing number of new biotechnology products industry is developing, EPA and industry sources say.

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ARMY MAY EXPAND CONTROVERSIAL PCB BURNING EFFORT TO OHIO SITE

The Army is seeking to expand its controversial effort to burn buildings contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to a site in Ohio, in addition to its existing request to regulators to employ the controversial method at a cleanup in Wisconsin. While activists fear such a move could lead to widespread PCB burning, an Army source stresses the military is not developing a "blanket exemption" for PCB burning at facilities nationwide. Rather, the approach will be considered on a site-specific basis, the source says.

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EPA AGREEMENT TO DELAY FORMALDEHYDE RISK REVIEW SPARKS UNCERTAINTY

EPA has agreed to a request from Senate environment panel Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) to delay a formaldehyde risk review, creating uncertainty for plywood makers, the natural gas turbine industry and states about Clean Air Act exemptions for the pollutant the industries have been granted or are seeking.

The industry groups sought the exemptions by arguing that formaldehyde emissions from their operations posed minimal risks. But the delay in EPA's risk review may alter the data that the agency relied on when initially proposing to grant the regulatory waivers, sources say.

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