The Toxic Substances Control Act was recently amended to update the outdated 1976 rule. These new changes will affect a range of industries that use chemicals for manufacturing, processing, and/or distribution.
The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) created an inventory of 62,000 chemical substances which were already in commerce. For all substances not on the inventory, pre-manufacture notification, and sometimes testing, were required. The thousands of chemicals on the inventory were essentially “grandfathered in” and were considered safe despite adequate testing.
Starting in 2013, two senators introduced a bill to make some fundamental changes to TSCA. After much negotiation, a revised rule was introduced to the senate in 2015. After further revision, it passed the Senate unanimously, and went on to pass in the House in June of 2016. The bill has seen significant support in many industries including health, environment, and labor communities.
There are a number of key changes taking place with this new rule, including:
- The EPA will now be required to evaluate the chemicals on the existing inventory, starting with the highest-risk substances.
- Both new and existing chemicals must be evaluated based on a risk-based safety standard, with consideration of vulnerable populations.
- The EPA will now have the authority to access and develop chemical information that may be necessary to complete risk evaluations.
- The EPA will now have clear and enforceable deadlines to ensure timely review of prioritized chemicals and timely action on identified risks.
- Public transparency of chemical information will be increased by limiting unwarranted claims of confidentiality and allowing for the appropriate sharing of confidential information with states, as well as health and environmental professionals.
- EPA will now have a source of funding to carry out the provisions of the rule.
Due to the EPA’s increased authority to review chemicals, it is expected that following the enactment of this legislation, there will be in increase in the number of chemicals being regulated.
Industry stakeholders may prepare themselves to present information on relevant chemicals to the EPA during the course of a risk evaluation on that particular chemical. Stakeholders are given many chances to influence the EPA in their decision-making process. Before a chemical is designated as high-priority, for example, interested parties may submit relevant information to the EPA. Stakeholders may also comment on draft risk evaluations and proposed risk management rules.
Parts of the new rule go into effect immediately, while others will be phased in gradually. The next few years will present key changes to industries involving chemicals, but this new legislation allows for a better working relationship between those industries and the EPA.
The following guides provide an outline of the new rule to help you with the transition to new TSCA regulations:
- Nonrisk Factors
- Testing Authority
- Manufacturing and Processing Changes
- Risk Evaluations
- Chemical Substance Determinations
- Confidential Business Information and Protection from Disclosure
- State-Federal Relationship
- Fund and Payments
- Policies, Procedures, and Guidance