All Published Articles

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Chemical Importers are on the Hook for TSCA Risk Evaluation Fees," Elements, the Magazine of Chemicals Northwest, Spring 2020.

Is your company potentially liable for a share of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $1,350,000 fee for developing a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation? This is a hot topic these days, given EPA’s notice dated January 27, 2020, identifying the “preliminary lists” of manufacturers, including importers, of the 20 chemical substances that EPA has designated as “high-priority” substances for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged. Stakeholders are required by March 27, 2020, to “self-identify” as manufacturers of a highpriority substance irrespective of whether they are included on the preliminary lists identified by EPA.  

Lynn L. Bergeson and Christopher R. Blunck, "Expert Focus: What Are the Implications of the US EPA’s Expected Final Rule on Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic Chemicals?," Chemical Watch, March 26, 2020.

PBT chemicals have long been recognised to behave differently in the environment and in biological systems from non-PBT substances. The US Congress acknowledged this when amending TSCA in 2016 by crafting special provisions under the Regulation’s Section 6(h) that were uniquely applicable to PBTs. Last July, the EPA proposed a rule that would implement the section, but this caused much controversy and led to comments from, among others, the retail, coatings and aerospace sectors and NGOs. It also raised several novel legal issues relating to TSCA’s interpretation.

 

Nevertheless, the EPA must issue a final rule within 18 months of the proposal, that is to say by December 2020. This article focuses on the novel issues that have arisen and the implications of their resolution on affected stakeholders.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "TSCA Fee Controversy Continues," Chemical Processing, March 20, 2020.

In last month’s column, we reported on the January 27, 2020, notice from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifying the preliminary lists of manufacturers, including importers, of the 20 chemical substances the EPA designated as high-priority for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged. The notice created a firestorm of criticism over the lack of any exemptions from being considered potentially responsible for paying a share of the EPA’s $1,350,000 fee for conducting a risk evaluation of a high-priority chemical. This column updates the status of this fast-changing matter.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The growing spectre of chemical product cancellations, and what to do about it," Financier Worldwide, February 2020.

Effective 1 January 2022, household cleaning, cosmetic and personal care products containing quantities of 1,4-dioxane over specified trivial levels will be prohibited from sale in the state of New York. The law imposing these restrictions, signed by governor Andrew M. Cuomo on 9 December 2019, is intended to protect drinking water supplies from contamination by the chemical. This product ban falls on the heels of the 15 March 2019 final rule issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banning the manufacture, import, processing and distribution, including e-commerce, of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal. The EPA’s determination that the use of methylene chloride in consumer paint and coating removal presents an ‘unreasonable risk’ of injury to health prompted this decision. These commercial bans are not anomalies; they are the new normal. This article explains why, and the reasons corporate leaders, brand managers, investors and others in this commercial space need to understand this trend and plan accordingly.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Toxic Substances: Are You On The List?," Chemical Processing, February 24, 2020.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on January 27, 2020, a notice identifying the preliminary lists of manufacturers (including importers) of the 20 chemical substances that the EPA designated as high-priority substances for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged (85 Fed. Reg. 4661). The list and the EPA’s interpretation of the fee rule caught many off guard. This column explains why.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Revises “Working Approach” Document," Chemical Processing, January 14, 2020.

On December 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an updated “Working Approach” document that builds upon its November 2017 version. The EPA states that the updated version, “TSCA New Chemical Determinations: A Working Approach for Making Determinations under TSCA Section 5,” explains its approach for making affirmative determinations on new chemical notices under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This article highlights key changes in the document.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Risk evaluations under TSCA: The state of play," Specialty Chemicals Magazine, December 2019/January 2020.

Among the changes when the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century, also known as Lautenberg or ‘new TSCA’, none is more consequential than the requirement that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct risk evaluations for ‘high priority’ chemical substances. We are now three years into new TSCA and this is being done, amid spirited debate and, inevitably, litigation.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Issues New Accidental Release Rule," Chemical Processing, December 20, 2019.

On November 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed off on final changes to the risk management program (RMP) rule, most recently amended in January 2017. The regulations were promulgated under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) when the law was amended in 1990. This section is intended to prevent or minimize the consequences of accidental chemical releases. A need to prevent or minimize the catastrophic consequences of accidental chemical release is a point few would argue. How best to “prevent or minimize,” however, has evoked exhausting debate and legal wrangling. This column summarizes key changes in the reissued final rule.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "SEC Proposes Changes To Reporting Rules," Chemical Processing, October 16, 2019.

Publicly traded companies must disclose certain legal proceedings and risk factors in registration statements and in annual and quarterly reports. These disclosures significantly help investors in assessing the financial integrity of a publicly traded company; formulating a disclosure precisely is critical to compliance, while at the same time accurately capturing the nature and extent of the potential risks. This article summarizes this Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule, which is intended to modernize the Regulation S-K obligations, particularly as they relate to environmental disclosures, and discusses the unique challenges these reporting obligations impose on the chemical industry.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The Growing Influence of Chemical Risk Evaluation on the M&A Market," Financier Worldwide, October 2019.

In 2018, the global M&A market achieved a transaction volume of $4.1 trillion, the third highest year ever for M&A volumes. Divestitures, spin-offs and split-offs are essential to defining corporate identity, a key shareholder imperative. This brisk pace is expected to continue. Whatever the motivation, M&A activity demands razor-sharp due diligence. The premise of this article is that due diligence often underestimates or, worse, ignores the impact implementation of revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the US industrial chemical safety law, has on commercial transactions. Implementation of these revisions is now influencing key sectors of the economy, making it essential that TSCA chemical risk evaluations be routinely included in M&A due diligence protocols.

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