Today, June 1, 2020 marks the opening of the window to submit data for the four-year reporting period under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule (CDR Rule) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The CDR Rule requires manufacturers (including importers) of substances listed on the TSCA Chemical Inventory to submit data to EPA every four years. Companies subject to the CDR Rule should be aware of several developments that affect reporting requirements and procedures this reporting period.

EPA adopted more rigorous requirements for trade secret confidentiality, new requirements for codes, and exemptions for chemicals recycled on-site or used in processes related to boilers. EPA also updated the size standards definition for small manufacturers and added an exemption for small governments for reporting and recordkeeping requirements under TSCA Section 8(a).

As a reminder, the CDR Rule applies to companies that manufacture or import listed substances in volumes sufficient to meet annual thresholds: either 25,000 or 2,500 pounds per site, depending on the substance. Unless confidentiality requests are approved, the data reported is publicly accessible. Companies that could be affected by changes to the CDR Rule include electric utilities, paper manufacturers, metal manufacturers, and semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturers, as well as traditional chemical manufacturers.

Clarification of Requirements for Confidentiality Claims

Requirements for requesting confidential treatment for trade secrets have been updated, in accordance with 2016 legislation. Now, all confidentiality claims except for claims regarding production volume will require up-front substantiation at the time of submission. Manufacturers seeking confidentiality protections must also address new questions related to specific chemical identity, as well as whether substances are publicly known to be in commerce, can be reverse engineered, or are otherwise readily discoverable.

EPA also has narrowed the types of data that may be kept confidential. Data related to processing and use that is deemed “general” information is no longer eligible for confidential treatment, such as the type of process or use, the industrial sector in which it is used, and general industrial function. Data about commercial and consumer use, such as the product category and whether it is likely to be used in children’s products, will also be excluded. However, information about percent production volume, number of sites, and workers, and maximum concentration in consumer and commercial uses may still be eligible.

New Requirements for OECD Codes

The Processing and Use Codes that were required for previous submissions are being replaced by codes developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Reporting using the OECD Codes will be required for the 2020 reporting period for the twenty chemicals designed as high priority for risk evaluation by EPA, including certain chlorinated solvents, phthalates, and formaldehyde. A full list of high-priority chemicals is available here.

OECD codes will be required for reporting all chemicals during the 2024 submission period. In addition, EPA will require reports to include North America Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes for the site of manufacture starting with the 2020 reporting period, to enable analysis of CDR data by manufacturing sector and with reference to other kinds of data.

Exemptions for Byproducts Recycled On-Site, Products Integral to Boiler Pollution Control, and Boiler Equipment

Exemptions from reporting have been added to the 2020 CDR Rule: certain byproducts that are recycled in a site-limited, enclosed system may now be exempt from reporting requirements, as are byproducts manufactured as part of non-integral boiler pollution control and boiler equipment. EPA has identified wastewater treatment, flue gas desulfurization, and catalytic reduction systems as systems that may generate byproducts eligible for exemption.

In addition to changes to the CDR Rule itself, EPA announced plans to improve the efficiency of the e-CDR-web, allowing information now submitted using Form U to be uploaded directly, and allowing co-manufacturers to submit required reports separately. Guidance on electronic submission is available online through the EPA website.

Definition of Small Manufacturers and Small Governments

In a separate rulemaking, EPA updated the definition of small manufacturers (including importers), increasing the sales standard trigger from $40 million to $120 million (as applied to exemption based on total sales), and from $4 million to $12 million (for a particular substance produced at a single site), and using the Gross Domestic Product deflator rather than the Consumer Price Index for Chemicals and Allied Products as a benchmark for adjustments.

In addition, EPA added a definition of “small governments” that will exempt certain local governments, including cities, counties, towns and special districts, with populations of less than 50,000 from reporting requirements. 

Extended Deadline and Compliance Assurance Provisions

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EPA has extended the deadline for reporting from September 30 to November 30, 2020, and adopted temporary enforcement and compliance assurance policies that will apply if companies cannot comply with CDR Rule reporting as a result of the public health emergency (previously reported here).

For more information and updates regarding the CDR Rule or related matters, please contact Angela Levin and or Louise Dyble at