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Environment, Health, And Safety Issues In the Year Ahead

(April 2009) posted on Mon Jun 01, 2009

Greenhouse-gas emissions, chemical regulations, labeling and reporting standards, and sustainability are among the issues that will have an impact on our industry in 2009. This overview discusses how these areas of concern will affect specialty printing companies.

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By Marcia Y. Kinter

While the US EPA continues to grapple with their rulemaking, several states continue to move forward with California in the lead. On Feb. 6, 2009, Administrator Jackson fulfilled a campaign pledge made by the Obama Administration to reopen and reconsider the petition filed by California for a waiver of pre-emption for its greenhouse-gas regulations for certain motor vehicles. Industry is closely watching the outcome of this issue as it will set the tone for future greenhouse-gas discussions. And, this discussion will include regulation of GHGs not only for motor vehicles, but also for all stationary sources.


Upcoming chemical legislation and regulation

With the implementation of REACH in the European Union, attention has now moved to the North American Continent. The Chemical Assessment and Management Program was created to implement commitments the United States made under the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America. Launched in March 2005, the SPP is a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three North American countries through cooperation and information sharing. Under the chemical cooperation portion of the SPP, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are working together to ensure the safe manufacture and use of industrial chemicals. The partnership is building on each country’s ongoing efforts to assess industrial chemicals, make environmental and health information on them available to the public, and take risk-management actions as appropriate.

To fulfill its part of the SPP commitment, the US EPA needs to complete, by 2012, screening-level hazard- or risk-based prioritizations and then initiate needed actions on high production volume (HPV) chemicals produced at more than 25,000 pounds per year, as well as 6750 moderate production volume (MPV) chemicals. The Agency is taking several actions to support this goal. First, it has embarked on an ambitious effort to reset the inventory of chemicals in commerce in the United States. This program, referred to as the TSCA Inventory, currently contains almost 84,000 chemicals, with almost 22,000 chemicals added to the Inventory through new chemical review since 1979. In 1986, EPA promulgated the Inventory Update Rule (IUR) requiring companies to update production volume data for certain chemicals on the Inventory. As IUR does not require reporting for all chemicals on the Inventory, it is unclear which chemicals not subject to IUR reporting are in commerce at a given point in time.


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