Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

Hydrogen Sulfide: Lifting of Administrative Stay

EPA is taking an important step to provide communities with additional information about toxic chemicals being released to the environment. The Agency is announcing that it is lifting the Administrative Stay of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide. The Agency's review of hydrogen sulfide is part of its efforts to examine the scope of TRI chemical coverage and provide communities with more complete information on toxic chemical releases.

Hydrogen sulfide was added to the TRI list of toxic chemicals in a final rule published on December 1, 1993. On August 22, 1994, EPA issued an Administrative Stay of the reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide in order to evaluate issues brought to the Agency's attention after promulgation of the final rule. These issues concerned the human health effect basis for the listing and the Agency's use of exposure analyses in TRI listing decisions.

On February 26, 2010, EPA published a Federal Register document that provided the public with the opportunity to comment on EPA's review of the currently available data on the human health and environmental effects of hydrogen sulfide and EPA's belief that the Administrative Stay should be lifted based on those data. In addition, the document addressed the concerns raised regarding use of exposure analyses in TRI listing decisions.

EPA noted that after consideration of comments received, the Agency would issue another Federal Register document responding to comments and taking appropriate action. Because of the reporting stay, facilities have not been required to file annual TRI reports for hydrogen sulfide. By finalizing the lifting of the stay, communities will have additional information about this toxic chemical.

NOTE

The regulatory text on page 64037 of the Federal Register document mistakenly included methyl mercaptan, this error has been corrected in a notice (PDF) (1 pg, 137 K) published on 11/8/11.


Hydrogen Sulfide: Lifting Administrative Stay, Question & Answers:

For further information contact Daniel R. Bushman, Environmental Analysis Division, Office of Information Analysis and Access (2842T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-566-0743; fax number: 202-566-0677; e-mail:Daniel Bushman (bushman.daniel@epa.gov), for specific information on this document.

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Q: What is the status of EPA's consideration of hydrogen sulfide?

A: Hydrogen sulfide is included on the TRI list of chemicals reportable under EPCRA section 313 (40 CFR Part 372, Subpart D). Beginning with the 2012 reporting year (reports due July 1, 2013), the Administrative Stay is lifted and facilities are required to submit TRI reports for hydrogen sulfide.

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Q: Why was the Administrative Stay issued for hydrogen sulfide?

A: EPA issued the Administrative Stay in order to evaluate issues raised by some members of the regulated community after the final rule adding hydrogen sulfide to the TRI list was published. The issues concerned a change in the chronic human health basis for listing between the proposed and final rules and EPA's use of exposure analyses in listing decisions.

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Q: What is the purpose of the most recent Federal Register notice concerning TRI reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide?

A: The purpose of the Federal Register document is to announce that EPA is lifting the Administrative Stay of the TRI reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide. The document also summarizes and responds to the comments received on the February 26, 2010, Federal Register document that stated EPA's belief that the Administrative Stay should be lifted based on currently available data.

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Q: Why does EPA believe that the Administrative Stay should be lifted?

A: EPA's technical evaluation concluded that hydrogen sulfide can reasonably be anticipated to cause chronic health effects in humans and can reasonably be anticipated to cause, because of its toxicity, significant adverse effects in aquatic organisms. In addition, EPA does not believe that an exposure assessment is appropriate for determining whether hydrogen sulfide meets the TRI listing criteria for chronic human health effects or environmental effects. Based on these findings, EPA has determined that there is no basis for continuing the Administrative Stay of the reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide, and that the Administrative Stay should therefore be lifted.

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Q: Is EPA revisiting the original listing decision?

A: By this action, EPA did not revisit the original listing decision. Rather, EPA is merely presented its rationale for why the Administrative Stay of the reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide should be lifted.

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Q: How can I get more background on EPA's TRI Program?

A: Visit the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program home page.

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