The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is making available to the public hundreds of studies on chemicals that had been treated as confidential business information (CBI). The move is part of the EPA”s plan to make public the chemicals that are not entitled to CBI status. The EPA says releasing the data will expand the public’s access to critical health and safety information on chemicals that are manufactured and processed in the U.S.

Since 2009, 577 formerly confidential chemical identities are no longer confidential and more than 1,000 health and safety studies are now accessible to the public that were previously unavailable or only available in limited circumstances, according to the EPA.

In 2010, the EPA issued new guidance outlining the agency’s plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identities in health and safety studies under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that are determined to not be entitled to CBI status. The EPA has been reviewing CBI claims in new and existing TSCA filings containing health and safety studies.

Consistent with the guidance, the EPA says it will request that the submitter voluntarily relinquish the CBI claims and make the newly available studies available to the public. The agency also challenged the chemical industry to make available information that was previously classified as CBI. To date, more than 35 companies have agreed to review previously submitted filings containing health and safety studies and determine if any CBI claims may no longer be necessary. ??According to Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, over the next year, the EPA expects to review several thousand additional studies on industrial chemicals and make many of these more accessible to the public.

The newly available information can be found under a new “declassified tab” using the Chemical Data Access Tool, launched in December 2010 to assist the public in retrieving chemical health and safety information submitted to EPA under TSCA.

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