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TSCA Reform Passes Senate, Awaits POTUS Signature

Posted on 6/8/2016 by Roger Marks

After passing the House of Representatives last week, long-awaited revisions to the United States’ major chemical management, reporting, and recordkeeping law—the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—have now passed the Senate as well. Named the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the revisions to TSCA now require only a signature from the President to enact them into Federal law.

Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act has come to be regarded as somewhat of a “unicorn” by the chemical industry and those who track changes to US environmental and safety laws: Long talked about, often debated on the floor of the House and Senate, but never quite achieved—until this week. Named for long-time New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, for whom TSCA reform was a major goal, the TSCA revisions span nearly 200 pages and can be found on the US Congress' website.  

TSCA Updates in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act directs US EPA to create new chemicals regulations to implement changes in the law. Major out comes of the TSCA reform bill include that it will:
  • Require EPA to establish a process for performing risk assessments on chemical substances and designating each as high-priority or low-priority (Starting with substances addressed in the 2014 update to the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments);
  • Give EPA more power to regulate and ban bio-accumulative chemicals (those that build up in the body over time);
  • Give US EPA more tools to collect chemical data from manufactures, importers, and distributors.
  • EPA will be required to identify and regulate high priority chemicals under Section 6– including chemicals stored near significant sources of drinking water and chemicals that pose an “unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation”;
  • Require chemical manufacturers and processors to periodically substantiate claims of confidential trade secrets;
  • Define “susceptible subpopulation” (more on this below); and more.
Now that TSCA reform bill has been passed, it will fall to the Environmental Protection Agency to draft, proposes, and finalize new chemical regulations to implement the changes in the reformed law.   

In the meantime, the current TSCA reporting period started on June 1. Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) is significantly different for chemical manufacturers and importers in 2016. Sites must report more often, include more years of data, and grapple with lowered thresholds for reporting that will bring more chemicals into the fold of TSCA CDR reporting requirements. To find out more, read TSCA Form U Reporting in 2016—What’s New?    

TSCA Reform Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act

TSCA Environmental Justice—Defining “Susceptible Population”

Among the many, many changes in this newly passed TSCA update is a new definition—“potentially  exposed or susceptible subpopulation.” The term is defined as follows: 

“A group of individuals within the general population identified by the Administration who, due to either greater susceptibility or greater exposure, may be at greater risk than the general population of adverse health effects from exposure to a chemical substance or mixture, such as infants, children, pregnant women, workers, or the elderly." 

Read more changes to TSCA here.

Ready to Report? 2016 TSCA Reporting Starts June 1

Be confident you know the latest rules that affect the chemical data you report—before you report it. Changing TSCA reporting rules for 2016 can affect what you report and how you submit the information. Take the interactive TSCA Regulations Online Course to get a clear view of how to manage your chemical inventory, report to EPA, keep your import and export documentation accurate, and what’s required for TSCA Form U reports.

Tags: new, rules, TSCA

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