NASF Report April 2016: Health Agency Seeks Data on Nickel, PFOS for Prop 65 Listing

California's EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced it will review several chemicals for possible listing under Proposition 65.
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Health Agency Seeks Data on Nickel, PFOS for Prop 65 Listing

California’s EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced in February it will review several chemicals for possible listing under Proposition 65. These chemicals include: nickel and nickel compounds; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its salts; perfluorooctane sulfonate acid (PFOS) and its salts; and n-hexane.

The state launched a preliminary review of the hazards for nickel and nickel compounds and identified them as possibly harmful to pregnant women and children, or as “developmental and reproductive toxicants.”

NASF and its strategic partner, the Nickel Institute, submitted comments in response and solicited support from other industry allies in October 2015 on whether the compounds should be elevated to priority status, and provided further information at a public meeting held by the agency’s scientific panel in November 2015. During that meeting, the panel informally identified nickel and nickel compounds as a medium priority reproductive toxicity hazard. The recent “data call in” asked for new scientific information on hazards of nickel compounds by April 4, which OEHHA will review as it considers a formal state listing under Proposition 65.

If OEHHA decides to list nickel and nickel compounds as a reproductive toxicant, the Proposition 65 labeling and notification requirements will be applicable to all products in California that contain nickel. The listing would also stigmatize nickel-containing products for potential de-selection in California
and elsewhere.

Even though the listing is a hazard identification and not a risk assessment, other jurisdictions may use it to impose unjustified risk-based restrictions and controls on the use of nickel and nickel compounds. NASF expects the next stage of the listing process to take several months.

In the meantime, the association will be working closely with the Nickel Institute to prepare appropriate responses and comments on the potential reproductive toxicity of nickel and nickel compounds.

If you have any questions or would like additional information on this issue, contact Christian Richter at crichter@thepolicygroup.com or Jeff Hannapel at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com.


Automotive OEM Group Headlines Sur/Fin Sustainability Summit

Tanya Bolden, director of Corporate Responsibility Products and Services at the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), will speak at the Sur/Fin Sustainability Summit on Monday, June 6, on emerging corporate sustainability trends for automotive OEMs and the supply chain.

As leader of AIAG’s strategic programming, Bolden works with teams of volunteers from AIAG member companies to develop and implement guidelines and share best practices to help companies manage their legislative, regulatory, and customer requirements on issues such as supply chain sustainability, environmental responsibility and business ethics.

She joined AIAG in 2010 from General Motors Co., where she was corporate responsibility manager, responsible for a range of global corporate issues impacting the company. She specifically was responsible for the social sector, including industry collaborations, stakeholder engagement, reporting, risk assessment and cross-functional leadership interface.

Bolden worked at GM for 20 years in a variety of positions. She holds a bachelors of science from Michigan State University and a master of science in administration from Central Michigan University.


EPA Proposes Revisions to Cadmium  Water Quality Standards

The U.S. EPA proposed updated water quality criteria for cadmium that would relax the benchmark for protecting aquatic species from chronic exposures to cadmium in freshwater from 0.25 µg/L to 0.73 µg/L, and for acute exposure from 2.0 µg/L to 2.1 µg/L. EPA also proposed a more stringent cadmium standard for estuarine and marine waters with criteria to protect aquatic species from chronic exposure from 8.8 µg/L to 8.3 µg/L and for acute exposure from 40 µg/L to 35 µg/L.

The proposal defines chronic risks as exposures of duration of four days or longer and acute risks as an exposure of one hour. Prior to the proposal, acute risks were considered exposures within a 24-hour period. When EPA last updated the cadmium water quality standard in 2001, it stated that stricter criteria were necessary because new data showed that exposure to cadmium over an extended period of time could have negative health impacts on aquatic life.

The 2001 cadmium water quality criteria lowered the chronic exposure limit by orders of magnitude, prompting sources in the wastewater industry at the time to claim that these criteria would be impossible to meet. While EPA’s risk-based criteria are not binding, states often use them to develop enforceable water quality standards. States can also revise EPA’s water quality criteria based on local concerns or develop their own, but EPA must approve alternate approaches. Other states and the industry-based Utility Water Act Group (UWAG) argue that the proposal is too stringent and have raised several questions about how the criteria were calculated. The industry group also challenged EPA’s decision to change the duration of acute exposure from 24 hours to one hour without sufficient evidence, as well as EPA’s more costly monitoring requirements. UWAG concluded that EPA appeared to be making a policy decision to revise the acute exposure without scientific evidence on cadmium toxicity to support it.

Illinois and Wisconsin also questioned EPA’s criteria claiming that the chronic exposure level was based on a flawed toxicity test that was published more than 15 years ago by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). According to the states, the USGS study should be retested, a position that it claims is supported by EPA’s Office of Science and Technology. EPA is in the process of reviewing public comments on the proposal. It is not clear if EPA intends to make any significant changes to the proposal.

The agency faces a March 30, 2016 court-ordered deadline to issue the new criteria. If you have any questions or would like additional information on this issue, contact Jeff Hannapel with NASF at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com.


NASF Welcomes Newest Members

NASF's newest members are: APCOM, Lake City Plating, Miller Plastic Products, ACME Dynamic Surface Finishing, Colorado Plating, Tulsa Metal Finishing, Peerless Custom Rack Co., Paragon Resource Management, Metrohm, Precision Process Equipment, Imbotec Group, Alpine Creations and Bright Dyes.


NASF Industry Award Nominations Now Accepted

NASF continues a tradition of presenting awards at Sur/Fin to acknowledge the leadership of our peers who have dedicated time to ensure a strong association and vibrant future. Attend the NASF annual meeting to acknowledge them for their efforts and to honor those whose names appear before them. Nominate someone today on NASF.org.


Originally published in the April 2016 issue.