EPA Proposes 20 High Priority Chemicals for TSCA Risk Evaluations

Posted on 8/27/2019 by Roger Marks

In a major milestone toward EPA’s implementation of the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the agency has proposed its first 20 high priority chemicals for risk evaluations.

Under TSCA section 6(b), EPA is required to evaluate the risks associated with the conditions of use of all the chemicals on the TSCA inventory. Of the more than 80,000 listed on the TSCA inventory, 40,655 are active in commerce (meaning they are currently manufactured, imported, or processed in the US).


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First 20 High Priority Chemicals

EPA’s list of twenty high-priority chemicals—the same chemicals EPA identified in a March 21 notice—includes:

  • 7 chlorinated solvents;
  • 6 phthalates;
  • 4 flame retardants;
  • Formaldehyde;
  • A fragrance additive; and
  • 1 polymer precursor.

The full list of proposed high priority chemicals: 

2.) 1,2-Dichloroethane
3.) trans-1,2- Dichloroethylene
4.) o-Dichlorobenzene
5.) 1,1,2-Trichloroethane
6.) 1,2-Dichloropropane
7.) 1,1-Dichloroethane
8.) Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) (1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- dibutyl ester)
9.) Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) - 1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1- butyl 2(phenylmethyl) ester
10.) Di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) - (1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester)
11.) Di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP) - (1,2-Benzene- dicarboxylic acid, 1,2- bis-(2methylpropyl) ester)
12.) Dicyclohexyl phthalate
13.) 4,4'-(1-Methylethylidene)bis[2, 6-dibromophenol] (TBBPA)
14.) Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP)
15.) Phosphoric acid, triphenyl ester (TPP)
16.) Ethylene dibromide
17.) 1,3-Butadiene
18.) 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta [g]-2-benzopyran (HHCB)
19.) Formaldehyde
20.) Phthalic anhydride

More information about each proposed chemical, including a public comment docket for each one, is available on EPA's website.

In 2016, EPA was required to initiate the first 10 chemical risk evaluations.  By the end of 2019—three-and-a-half years after TSCA reform was enacted (in June 2016), EPA must initiate at least twenty more. Naming the first 20 high priority chemicals is the first step toward starting those required risk evaluations.  

EPA proposed twenty low-priority chemicals, which are those that do not meet the criteria to require a risk evaluation at this time. To see the list of chemicals proposed as low priority, see the August 15 Federal Register.  

What’s Next?

Now that an official Notice of the first twenty high-priority chemicals is out, EPA will accept public comment on its list until November 21, 2019. Once the comment period closes, EPA will make final designations of high priority.

Proposing a chemical as a “high priority” chemical does not mean that the chemical necessarily poses an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. It means that EPA has determined that the chemical may pose such a risk—and initiates the official risk evaluation process.

If EPA’s risk evaluation process determines that a chemical substance does in fact present an unreasonable risk, EPA must create new management standards or restrictions for the chemical under TSCA within one year.  

In March 2019, EPA announced new prohibitions for methylene chloride, one of the original ten chemicals tagged for risk evaluation.

For another of the first ten chemicals evaluated, asbestos, EPA created a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) in June 2018 that affected common uses of asbestos, including in adhesives, sealants, coatings, reinforced plastics, roofing felt, pipeline wrap, floor tiles, building materials, and others.

Master TSCA Compliance

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is complex and enforcement is stringent, making a comprehensive understanding of the rules critical for compliance.  The law has broad applicability, subjecting all companies that “manufacture, use, process, distribute, import, or export chemical products” to complex reporting and management requirements.
Be confident you’re meeting your TSCA chemical management and reporting responsibilities! Sign up now for the interactive TSCA Regulations Online Course or call 888-546-6511 to speak with a Lion regulatory expert.

Tags: chemicals, EPA, new rules, TSCA

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