According to news sources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently withdrew two draft rules, including one that would have designated bisphenol A (BPA) and certain phthalates as “chemicals of concern,” submitted for approval in 2010 and 2011 to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) where they remained beyond their prescribed 90-day period of review. The other rule would have clarified that health and safety studies on pre-market chemicals submitted to EPA would not have been deemed confidential business information and would have been made publicly available. The proposed rules were opposed by the chemical industry, which has praised EPA’s decision to abandon the rulemaking.
According to an Environmental Defense Fund scientist, OIRA’s failure to act “has effectively denied the public its voice in the rulemaking process.” Richard Denison also said, “By blocking EPA from even proposing the rules and taking public comment—which would have been the proper venue for airing questions and concerns from all stakeholders—OIRA has taken on the unauthorized role of serving as judge and jury. And because none of its reasons for blocking the proposed rules has or will be made public, that outsize role flies in the face of basic principles of transparency and democracy.” See Huffington Post, American Chemistry Council News Release and EDF Health, September 6, 2013.