New regs for Tuesday: Drug testing, hazardous materials spills, espionage

Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for drug testing labs, emergency services personnel who respond to hazardous materials spills, and a program that spots espionage against the federal government.

Here's what is happening:

Drug testing: The Department of Health and Human Services is moving forward with a list of laboratories that are certified to conduct drug testing of federal employees, the agency said Friday.

HHS's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced the list of dozens of drug-testing labs that federal agencies can contract with to take urine samples from their employees.

Spills: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is considering new guidelines for emergency services personnel who are responding to hazardous materials incidents.

PHMSA said Friday it is seeking public comment on how it can improve the Emergency Response Guidebook, which it will be updating in 2016. The agency is working with Canadian and Mexican officials as it develops improved standards.

Chemicals: The Environmental Protection Agency might move to restrict the use of 36 chemical substances before they are manufactured, the agency announced Friday.

The EPA is tightening the controls on these chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act, so any manufacturer that plans to use develop these chemicals for a "significant new use" must give the agency at least 90 days advance notice.

"The required notification provides EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs," the agency wrote.

Confidentiality: The Interior Department is considering changes to a program that safeguards classified information.

The Insider Threat Program is designed to spot espionage and counterintelligence efforts from within government agencies. But the Interior Department would like to exempt it from Privacy Act rules, so confidential sources and other sensitive information from law enforcement activities is not revealed.

Patent: The International Trade Commission is investigating patent infringement complaints against certain windshield wipers and noise-canceling headphones that are being sold in the United States.