EPA Rejects CBI Secrecy Claims

Historically, coating and chemical companies have been able to keep the majority of the chemicals they use in their product confidential.  This has changed recently with the EPA’s Toxic Controlled Substance Act (TCSA) in which the EPA published previously confidential reports on more than 150 chemicals discussed in 100+ safety and health studies conducted by various industries and chemical manufacturers.

The Act follows a year of unsuccessful negations with the American Coatings Association, American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute and many other trade associations.  Assistant EPA Administrator Steven A. Owen’s explains the action by saying, “[The Coating] Industry has a responsibility to increase the transparency of the information it submits to this agency”.

Starting in February of this year, the EPA notified many companies that their Confidential Business Information (CBI) requests had been denied.  Previously, CBI requests were rarely denied.  In essence, this denial requires that health and safety studies be declassified and made available for the public record.

This move fits with the EPA’s overall effort to give American’s more information about the chemicals they may be exposed to in the products they buy.  Recently the EPA has give the public access to a large, searchable database of health and safety studies on a wide range of chemicals as well as free access to the TSCA inventory.  While the EPA’s efforts to promote transparency should be applauded and while there may be pain in the immediate future for some chemical companies and trade associations, these actions will help move the industry as a whole to safer, more sustainable chemical use moving forward.