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Next Phase of TSCA Chemical Risk Evals Underway

Posted on 7/8/2021 by Roger Marks

In a TSCA policy update announced on June 30, EPA alerted stakeholders to a fundamental shift in the Agency's approach to chemical risk evaluations. 

What's Changing In TSCA Chemical Risk Reviews

  • A new “whole chemical approach.” EPA is shifting its approach to TSCA risk evaluations. EPA will continue to evaluate the risk for each condition of use. Now, however, EPA will make an unreasonable risk determination for the chemical as a whole when a majority of the conditions of use for that chemical warrant the unreasonable risk label.

  • More exposure pathways considered. Consider more pathways, incl. possibly air, water, and disposal. Previous efforts to evaluate the risks of these chemicals did not consider pathways for which EPA regulatory programs already exist (e.g., the Clean Air and Water Acts, RCRA, CERCLA, etc.)

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). EPA previously determined that certain uses of the evaluated chemicals present no unreasonable risk. This determination was based on an assumption that employees who use the chemical will be outfitted with proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

EPA now believes that “assumptions that PPE is always provided to workers, and worn properly, are not justified.” With this in mind, the Agency will revisit six of the completed risk evaluations.  

10 Down, 40,000 To Go

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to establish management standards for any chemical substance that poses unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment, based on the results of risk evaluations, as mandated by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act or LCSA (which amended TSCA). 

EPA will continue to evaluate the risks of TSCA inventory chemicals—and they have their work cut out for them. Results from a one-time TSCA reporting rule in 2016 shows that more than 40,000 chemicals are active in commerce in the United States. 

The “Lautenberg Law” requires EPA to keep 20 risk evaluations moving forward at any given time. In other words, a new risk evaluation must begin each time one is completed. EPA released a list of 20 more high-priority chemicals in late 2020.

Online Training to Master TSCA Compliance

The TSCA Regulations Online Course guides EHS managers through these complex rules—including how to use the TSCA Chemical Inventory; inventory, IUR, or “Form U” reporting responsibilities; Pre Manufacture Notifications (PMN); Significant New Use Rules (SNUR); management standards for PCBs, and much more.

Tags: chemical, chemicals, evaluations, risk, TSCA

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