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Toxics

Facing Suit, EPA To Impose New Controls On Emissions From Motor Vehicles

EPA plans next year to propose new controls on air toxic emissions from motor vehicles -- one of the largest sources of hazardous air pollutants in the country -- amid a lengthy court battle with environmentalists who claim the agency missed a self-imposed deadline to finalize rules this year.

Petroleum industry officials say they have not yet taken a position on such a rule, but raise concerns that it could be more difficult to control vehicle emissions following an expected phase-out of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

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Industry Raises New Claims Against EPA Regulating Methyl Bromide Stockpiles

Manufacturers, distributors and users of the ozone-depleting chemical methyl bromide are making new claims that EPA does not have the authority to regulate existing stockpiles of the pesticide. The claims, if successful, could allow industry to use volumes of methyl bromide greater than levels the U.S. agreed to in recent international talks, industry and government sources say.

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USDA FINALIZES RULE TO EXPAND METHYL BROMIDE 'QUARANTINE EXEMPTION'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sept. 16 finalized its proposal to expand the use of methyl bromide's so-called quarantine exemption, calling for all imported wood packaging material to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide, which is otherwise banned.

"This change will affect all persons using wood packaging material in connection with importing goods into the Untied States," the final rule says. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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DuPont Fine By EPA May Discourage Future Industry Data Agreements

EPA's decision to seek a potentially record-setting fine against DuPont for allegedly failing to report adverse health effects related to the chemical C-8 will make other chemical companies less willing to enter into future agreements with the agency on toxicity reporting, industry attorneys and legal observers say.

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EPA Program Offices Fear ORD Is Rushing Key Chemical Risk Reviews

Officials in EPA program offices are raising concerns that managers in the Office of Research and Development (ORD) are ignoring their input to quickly complete chemical risk assessments for the agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database, sources say.

The dispute could result in "delayed chemical reviews and internal strife" if the program offices and ORD do not agree on how to review new risk assessments, one program office source says. "These assessments are supposed to be agency products," the source says.

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Administration's Analysis On Controlling Drift Could Weaken Various Air Rules

The Bush administration's decision to include a controversial analysis that finds reduced benefits for controlling particulate matter (PM) under the agency's upcoming rule to limit drift could weaken requirements for reducing the pollutant through other air regulations. EPA sources say the analysis could undermine future agency arguments about the cost-effectiveness of limiting particulates through technology-based standards on power plants, exhaust controls for vehicles, and other measures.

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EPA Support For Cutting-Edge Database May Speed Toxicity Testing

EPA is contributing to a public database of emerging biological research that scientists say could dramatically accelerate the process of gauging chemical toxicity.

The agency will be awarding research contracts next month that will help supply the information storehouse, called the Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS) Database, but the effort also has study results ready to submit and could start doing so any day, an EPA researcher says.

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EPA TO REQUIRE MORE INDUSTRY TESTING OF HIGH-VOLUME CHEMICALS

EPA this month is expected to announce additional industry testing requirements for widely used chemicals for which basic toxicity data are unavailable, as part of a landmark agreement between the agency and industry to study the potential health effects of the most produced chemicals. At the same time, EPA is planning to unveil early next year a database that will improve public access to such information.

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EPA TO FORM INTERNAL WORKGROUP ON OVERHAULING RISK ASSESSMENTS

High-ranking EPA officials are forming a workgroup to examine how the agency selects relevant data for assessing the potential public health risks from environmental pollutants, which could recommend sweeping changes in the way EPA conducts risk reviews.

The new group reflects an industry request that EPA reevaluate its risk assessment data selection, but falls short of industry's proposal that the workgroup's findings should be applied to past agency decisions.

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OEHHA MAKES FEW REVISIONS TO DRAFT CHEMICAL PRIORITIZATION PROCEDURE

Health hazard assessment officials have made few substantive changes to their draft Proposition 65 chemical prioritization process, despite calls by industry representatives and environmentalists for multiple amendments. The process, which guides how compounds are picked for advancement to state scientists to determine whether they should be listed as either carcinogens or reproductive toxicants, is expected to be considered by the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) at a Nov. 1 meeting, and the Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity Identification Committee (DART) at its Nov.

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