For the first time ever the EPA will be providing web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency. EPA is also making this information available on Data.Gov, a website developed by the Obama Administration to provide public access to important government information. This action represents another step to increase the transparency of chemical information while continuing to push for legislative reform of the 30 year old TSCA law.
AND in even bigger news the EPA is also going to be reviewing all confidentiality claims for chemical identity in health and safety studies. They (PDF) sent out a notice to companies last week telling companies who make confidentiality claims that they should expect to get a letter from EPA denying the claim.
This is actually a HUGE step for the EPA. For years people have wanted the TSCA better enforced but many products, such as health and beauty care products have been privy to a "confidentiality" clause. However, that's just lame and finally the EPA is saying they're going to do something about it. The EPA will now systematically review all confidentiality claims pertaining to chemical identity in any industry submissions of health and safety studies and associated data plus they'll be going back and reviewing older claims as well.
Actually, I'm not getting too excited yet. The EPA hasn't had much luck in some 20 years regarding allowing consumers to know what's going on with chemicals, so we'll have to wait and see if they actually follow through, but this is a step in the right direction.