[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 247 (Wednesday, December 29, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74088-74089]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-28230]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0254; FRL-9347-01-OCSPP]


Asbestos Part 2: Supplemental Evaluation Including Legacy Uses 
and Associated Disposals of Asbestos; Draft Scope of the Risk 
Evaluation To Be Conducted Under the Toxic Substances Control Act; 
Notice of Availability and Request for Comments

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with implementing regulations for the Toxic 
Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) is announcing the availability of and soliciting public comment 
on the draft scope of the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos Part 2: 
Supplemental Evaluation Including Legacy Uses and Associated Disposals 
of Asbestos. In the Part 2 risk evaluation for asbestos, EPA will 
evaluate the conditions of use of asbestos (including other types of 
asbestos fibers in addition to chrysotile) that EPA had excluded from 
Part 1 as legacy uses and associated disposals, as well as any 
conditions of use of asbestos in talc and talc-containing products. The 
draft scope for this chemical substance includes the conditions of use, 
hazards, exposures, and the potentially exposed or susceptible 
subpopulations that EPA plans to consider in conducting the risk 
evaluation for this chemical substance. EPA is also opening a 45-
calendar day comment period on the draft scope to allow for the public 
to provide additional data or information that could be useful to the 
Agency in finalizing the scope of the risk evaluation; comments may be 
submitted to this docket.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 14, 2022.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification 
(ID) number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0254, through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions 
for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information 
you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other 
information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Additional 
instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more 
information about dockets generally, is available at https://www.epa.gov/dockets/about-epa-dockets.
    Due to the public health concerns related to COVID-19, the EPA 
Docket Center (EPA/DC) and Reading Room is open to visitors by 
appointment only. The staff continues to provide remote customer 
service via email, phone, and webform. For the latest status 
information on EPA/DC services and docket access, visit https://www.epa.gov/dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information contact: 
Peter Gimlin, Existing Chemical Risk Management Division, Office of 
Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency 
(Mailcode 7404T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-0001; 
telephone number: (202) 566-0515; email address: [email protected].
    For general information contact: The TSCA-Hotline, ABVI-Goodwill, 
422 South Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; telephone number: (202) 
554-1404; email address: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    This action is directed to the public in general and may be of 
interest to entities that manufacture (including import) a chemical 
substance regulated under TSCA, 15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., (e.g., entities 
identified under North American Industrial Classification System 
(NAICS) codes 325 and 324110). The action may also be of interest to 
chemical processors, distributors in commerce, and users; non-
governmental organizations in the environmental and public health 
sectors; state and local government agencies; and members of the 
public. Since other entities may also be interested, the Agency has not 
attempted to describe all the specific entities and corresponding NAICS 
codes for entities that may be interested in or affected by this 
action.

B. What is the Agency's authority for taking this action?

    The draft scope of the risk evaluation is issued pursuant to TSCA 
section 6(b) and TSCA implementing regulations at 40 CFR 702.41(c)(7).

C. What action is the Agency taking?

    EPA is publishing and requesting public comment on the draft scope 
of the Risk Evaluation under TSCA for Asbestos Part 2: Supplemental 
Evaluation Including Legacy Uses and Associated Disposals of Asbestos. 
Through the risk evaluation process, EPA will determine whether the 
chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or 
the environment under the conditions of use, as determined by the 
Administrator, in accordance with TSCA section 6(b)(4).

II. Background

    Following EPA's June 2016 designation of Asbestos as one the first 
ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluation under TSCA, EPA initially 
focused the risk evaluation for asbestos on chrysotile asbestos as this 
is the only asbestos fiber type that is currently imported, processed, 
or distributed in the U.S. However, in late 2019, the court in Safer 
Chemicals, Healthy Families v. EPA, 943 F.3d 397 (9th Cir. 2019) held 
that EPA's Risk Evaluation Rule (82 FR 33726, July 20, 2017) (FRL-9964-
38) and codified at 40 CFR part 702, subpart B, should not have 
excluded ``legacy uses'' (i.e., uses without ongoing or prospective 
manufacturing, processing, or distribution) or ``associated disposals'' 
(i.e., future disposal of legacy uses) from the definition of 
conditions of use, although the court did uphold EPA's exclusion of 
``legacy disposals'' (i.e., past disposal). Following this court 
ruling, EPA continued development of the risk evaluation focused on 
chrysotile asbestos and determined that the complete risk evaluation 
for asbestos would be issued in two parts. The Risk Evaluation for 
Asbestos Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos was released in December 2020 (86 
FR 89, January 4, 2021) (FRL-10017-47), allowing the Agency to 
expeditiously move into risk management for the unreasonable risk 
identified in Part 1. Under the consent decree in the case Asbestos 
Disease

[[Page 74089]]

Awareness Organization et al v. Regan et al, 4:21-cv-03716 (N.D. Cal.) 
EPA is required to publish a final Part 2 Risk Evaluation for Asbestos 
on or before December 1, 2024. The draft scope of the Risk Evaluation 
for Asbestos Part 2 is the subject of this notice.
    The purpose of a risk evaluation is to determine whether a chemical 
substance, or group of chemical substances, presents an unreasonable 
risk to health or the environment, under the conditions of use, 
including an unreasonable risk to a relevant potentially exposed or 
susceptible subpopulation (15 U.S.C. 2605(b)(4)(A)). As part of this 
process, EPA must evaluate both hazards and exposures for the 
conditions of use; describe whether aggregate or sentinel exposures 
were considered and the basis for consideration; not consider costs or 
other non-risk factors; take into account where relevant, likely 
duration, intensity, frequency, and number of exposures; and describe 
the weight-of-scientific-evidence for hazards and exposures (15 U.S.C. 
2605(b)(4)(F)). This process will culminate in a determination of 
whether or not the chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of 
injury to health or the environment under the conditions of use (15 
U.S.C. 2605(b)(4)(A); 40 CFR 702.47).

III. Draft Scope of the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos Part 2: 
Supplemental Evaluation Including Legacy Uses and Associated Disposals 
of Asbestos

    EPA is publishing the draft scope of the Risk Evaluation for 
Asbestos Part 2: Supplemental Evaluation Including Legacy Uses and 
Associated Disposals of Asbestos. For the purposes of scoping and risk 
evaluation, EPA has adopted the definition of asbestos as defined by 
TSCA Title II (added to TSCA in 1986), Section 202 as the ``asbestiform 
varieties of six fiber types--chrysotile (serpentine), crocidolite 
(riebeckite), amosite (cummingtonite-grunerite), anthophyllite, 
tremolite or actinolite.'' The latter five fiber types are amphibole 
varieties. Given that Part 2 of the risk evaluation will focus on 
legacy uses of asbestos and associated disposals, a unique 
consideration will be vermiculite, which was widely used in building 
materials in the past and was co-located with Libby Amphibole Asbestos 
(LAA; and its tremolite, winchite, and richterite constituents). Thus, 
LAA (and its tremolite, winchite, and richterite constituents) will be 
considered in Part 2 of the risk evaluation. Additionally, another 
commercially mined substance, talc, has been implicated as a potential 
source of asbestos exposure. Talc can also be co-located geologically 
with asbestos, where asbestos can remain in small or trace amounts 
following extraction. Thus, EPA will determine the relevant conditions 
of use of talc, including but not limited to any ``legacy use'' and 
``associated disposal'', where asbestos is implicated. The draft scope 
of the risk evaluation for this asbestos Part 2 includes the conditions 
of use, hazards, exposures, and the potentially exposed or susceptible 
subpopulations EPA plans to consider in the risk evaluation (15 U.S.C. 
2605(b)(4)(D)). Development of the scope is the first step of a risk 
evaluation. The draft scope of the risk evaluation will include the 
following components (40 CFR 702.41(c)):
     The conditions of use, as determined by the Administrator, 
that EPA plans to consider in the risk evaluation.
     The potentially exposed populations that EPA plans to 
evaluate; the ecological receptors that EPA plans to evaluate; and the 
hazards to health and the environment that EPA plans to evaluate.
     A description of the reasonably available information and 
the science approaches that the Agency plans to use.
     A conceptual model that will describe the actual or 
predicted relationships between the chemical substance, the conditions 
of use within the scope of the evaluation and the receptors, either 
human or environmental, with consideration of the life cycle of the 
chemical substance--from manufacturing, processing, distribution in 
commerce, storage, use, to release or disposal--and identification of 
human and ecological health hazards EPA plans to evaluate for the 
exposure scenarios EPA plans to evaluate.
     An analysis plan, which will identify the approaches and 
methods EPA plans to use to assess exposure, hazards, and risk, 
including associated uncertainty and variability, as well as a strategy 
for using reasonably available information and science approaches.
     A plan for peer review.
    EPA encourages commenters to provide information they believe might 
be missing or may further inform the risk evaluation.
    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.

Michael S. Regan,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2021-28230 Filed 12-28-21; 8:45 am]
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