"EPA's new plan for verifying chemicals that companies claim as trade secrets has some of the same shortcomings as a previous regulation currently tangled in litigation, according to critics.
The draft rule would allow companies that claimed data about specific chemicals they used or sold in the past five years as confidential business information to seek permission from EPA to continue limiting public scrutiny of those compounds for up to a decade. There are currently around 41,000 chemicals that EPA has determined are currently used in commerce, about 8,000 of which companies have claimed as confidential.
To substantiate those confidential claims, the proposal says chemical producers and users will need to prove to EPA that they've tightly held information about the compounds they're seeking to keep secret and that disclosing such chemical data more broadly would 'likely result in substantial harm' to business.
'We continue to be committed to fostering transparency about information on chemicals while protecting verified confidential information,' Alexandra Dunn, EPA's assistant administrator for chemical safety, said in a statement yesterday."