What Does It Mean For The Coatings Industry?
Historically, coating and chemical companies have been able to keep the majority of the chemicals they use in their product confidential. The prior practice of corporate secrecy has changed recently with the EPA’s Toxic Controlled Substance Act (TCSA). 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. Owens 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, the EPA rarely denied CBI requests. 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 their chemical exposure in the products they buy. Recently the EPA has given the public access to a large, searchable database of health and safety studies on a wide range of chemicals and free access to the TSCA inventory. The EPA’s efforts to promote transparency should be applauded. 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.