The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is increasing the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers, allowing the agency to better identify and manage potential risks to Americans’ health and the environment. The improved rule, known as the chemical data reporting rule (CDR), also requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA, rather than on paper, and limits confidentiality claims by companies. The changes are part of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s commitment to strengthen the agency’s chemical management program and increase the transparency of critical information on chemicals.

“Collecting this critical information on widely used chemicals will enable EPA to more effectively identify and address potential chemical risks,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The new electronic reporting requirement and limits on confidentiality claims also will bring the EPA’s data collection effort into the 21st century and give the American people greater access to a wider range of information on chemicals to which their children and families are exposed every day.”

The CDR rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory update rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals, and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data, and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. The improved information will reportedly allow the EPA to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals.

The EPA is requiring companies to submit the information through the Internet, using the EPA’s electronic reporting tool. It is expected that online reporting will improve both data quality and the EPA’s ability to use the data, as well as make it more accessible to the public. Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1-June 30, 2012.

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