EPA Withdraws Rule on Reporting Cadmium Health Studies

January 2, 2013

Companies that make or import products containing the toxic metal cadmium can still withhold from disclosure health and toxicity studies they may have conducted, but not published. That's the effect of EPA's action, announced December 14, 2012, to withdraw a just-issued rule requiring such studies to be reported.

Concern over cadmium goes back to before 2010, when an Associated Press investigation revealed that cadmium was being used in many kinds of children's jewelry, often imported from China. Some Chinese factories were substituting cadmium for lead, the subject of earlier recalls. In response to the AP reporting, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued some warnings and recalls. EPA can theoretically regulate toxics in consumer products under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which requires reporting and disclosure of some health information. Under TSCA, EPA can require companies to report relevant health studies, although the companies can claim the studies are trade secrets in an effort to keep EPA from disclosing them to the public.

EPA had on December 3, 2012, published a final rule requiring reporting of unpublished cadmium-related health and safety studies by manufacturers and importers. This rule prompted industry objections. EPA's withdrawal of the rule was published in the Federal Register December 28, 2012.