Q&A on CDR

30 Mar
chemical data reporting


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Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), certain manufacturers (including importers) must provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with information on the production and use of chemicals in commerce. This is done through a Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) report. CDR is required for all chemical substances listed on the TSCA inventory, with some exceptions, as discussed below.

EPA uses CDR to collect basic exposure-related information, including information on the types, quantities, and uses of chemical substances produced domestically and imported into the United States. This data is important, because it allows the Agency to assess potential human health and environmental impacts of chemicals and to share up-to-date information with the general public on chemical risks.

Manufacturers and importers who work with chemicals must understand TSCA and CDR, how the rules apply, and what is required to ensure compliance.  

What Is CDR?

The CDR rule was originally issued under TSCA in the 1980s as the Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule. In 2011, EPA changed the name to CDR to recognize the changes in reporting requirements over the past several decades.

Today, CDR remains a means to collect information on basic chemical exposure, including types, quantities, and uses of chemicals produced domestically and imported to the United States. According to this rule, manufacturers and importers must report on production and use of chemicals in commerce if specified thresholds are met.

What Is TSCA?

TSCA was published in 1976 to provide EPA with the authority to require reporting, recordkeeping and testing requirements, and restrictions related to chemical substances. In 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which modernized and updated TSCA to include the following:

  • Mandatory requirement and clear deadlines for EPA to evaluate existing chemicals
  • Risk-based chemical assessments
  • Increased public transparency for chemical information
  • Consistent source of funding for EPA to carry out responsibilities

The CDR rule remains a key component of TSCA, as revised under the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act.

Who Must Report under the CDR Rule?

The CDR rule applies to manufacturers and importers of chemicals who meet specified production volume thresholds:

  • In general, the threshold is 25,000 lbs. or more of a chemical substance at any single site during any calendar year since the last principal reporting year.
  • With respect to chemicals that are subject to certain TSCA actions, a reduced threshold of 2,500 lbs. may apply.

Are Any Chemicals Exempt from Reporting?

Certain types, manner of manufacture/import, or use of chemicals are exempt from CDR reporting (i.e., polymers, microorganisms, naturally occurring chemical substances, water, and certain forms of natural gas when manufacture (including import) of those chemical substances meets other reporting requirements).

It is important for facilities to assess whether they have chemicals that fall into the following categories, as outlined by EPA, which are all exempt from CDR:

  • Chemicals manufactured or imported for non-TSCA uses are not required to be reported (e.g., pesticides are exempt from reporting under CDR by TSCA). If a portion of a manufacturer’s or importer’s production is not subject to TSCA (e.g., if the use is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)), that portion will not be reported to CDR. Note that manufacturers may report downstream non-TSCA uses for their chemical.
  • Generally, water and naturally occurring substances are exempt from CDR requirements. Three other groups of chemicals (i.e., polymers, microorganisms, and certain forms of natural gas) are also generally exempt. However, it is important to note that a particular polymer, microorganism, or form of natural gas may not be exempt if the chemical becomes the subject of certain TSCA actions (e.g., an enforceable consent agreement).
  • Chemicals that are non-isolated intermediates, imported as part of an article, impurities, or byproducts destined for certain commercial uses are exempt from reporting.

Are Any Manufacturers/Importers Exempt from Reporting?

EPA recently amended the definition of small manufacturer in 2020 in accordance with TSCA. This provides an exemption from reporting for manufacturers who meet the following criteria:

  • Total sales during 2019 combined with those of the parent company (domestic or foreign) are less than $ 12 million; or
  • Total sales during 2019 of the parent company (domestic or foreign) are less than $120 million and annual production volume of a qualifying chemical substance does not exceed 100,000 lbs. at any individual site. If the annual production volume of the chemical substance exceeds 100,000 lbs. at a site, the manufacturer is required to report for that particular site.

How Is the CDR Rule Different from Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Rule?

CDR collects exposure-related information and requires manufacturers/importers to report industrial, commercial, and consumer use information for certain chemical substances on the TSCA inventory. TRI, on the other hand, is designed to track the management of certain toxic chemicals that might pose a threat to human health and the environment. Under TRI, regulated facilities must report on releases and waste management of specific chemical substances under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

How Often Must Data Be Reported?

Impacted manufacturers and importers must and submit information to the EPA every four (4) years. For chemical substances that trigger reporting, total annual production volume must be reported for each calendar year since the last principal reporting year. The 2020 submission reporting period was based on data for the calendar years 2016-2019. The next submission period will be 2024 for data collected from 2020-2023.

How Do Companies Submit CDR Data?

Companies subject to reporting must submit the required information using e-CDRweb, the CDR web-based reporting tool. To access this reporting tool, companies must register on EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) system.

What Should I Do Now to Prepare?

The most recent submission period closed on January 29, 2021. To prepare your company for the 2024 submission:

  • Keep records on production volume of imported and manufactured chemical substances.
  • Follow EPA actions under TSCA to check if they have an impact on your reporting requirement.
  • Make sure to submit your report within prescribed deadline; otherwise, you may be subject to EPA enforcement action.
  • Visit the CDR website for program updates, announcements, and other guidance materials.

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