• Results of biomonitoring studies that show exposure to chemicals from uncertain pathways and with limited data about potential risks that result;
• Right to know initiatives to require disclosure of chemical use and release information, product labeling disclosures, pressure to disclose more information currently allowed to be claimed as confidential business information, such as wider and earlier release of production data or toxicological studies;
• More peer review of all proposed decisions to ensure good science, with more emphasis on conflict of interest screening criteria;
• Renewed emphasis on the potential for risk assessment modeling to incorporate potential effects of low-dose exposures;
• Possible effects of chemicals on the endocrine system of humans and animals;
• Toxics use reduction, perhaps wrapped in the cloak of chemical plant security and hazardous material transportation restrictions;
• Initiatives to inform consumers and foster the marketing of greener products, recycling of packaging, reducing the carbon footprints, and the like; and
• Proposed trade agreements to include greater assurance of compliance with environmental standards to help level the playing field for U.S. entities; andgreater belief in international approaches and agreements to attain environmental objectives (e.g., not only to approve the Persistent Organic Pollutant treaty, but use it).
At this early stage, it’s wise to prepare for more regulation and public scrutiny of chemicals. Readers will benefit from good corporate stewardship, complying with all applicable requirements, maintaining good working relationships with all levels of EPA and their local communities, and engaging constructively with the regulatory authorities.
Lynn is managing director of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that concentrates on chemical industry issues. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author. This column is not intended to provide, nor should be construed as, legal advice.
You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.