Navigating TSCA Rules for Specific Chemicals

Posted on 3/8/2016 by Anthony Cardno

The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authorizes US EPA to require chemical manufacturers, importers, and processers to monitor and report on their activities once every four years. This year, 2016, is an important year for facilities subject to TSCA—it’s the first year in which new, broader chemical data reporting requirements take effect.

In short, instead of reporting on the previous one year of chemical activity, as was the rule until 2012, facilities are now required to include data from the four years preceding the reporting year. So, for the reporting year 2016, facilities must report data from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Read more about the new 2016 TSCA reporting rules here.

Beyond TSCA Chemical Reporting

In addition to allowing EPA to create reporting and recordkeeping rules for chemicals, TSCA also authorizes EPA to regulate certain constituents deemed extremely hazardous to human health and the environment. Some of the TSCA programs for specific substances include:
  • Lead paint (40 CFR 745)
  • Metal working fluids (40 CFR 747)
  • Certain water treatment chemicals (40 CFR 749)
  • PCBs (40 CFR 761)
  • Asbestos (40 CFR 763)
The requirements for these substances cover things like specific chemical use requirements and communicating hazards to consumers.. This is just one area of TSCA in which EPA creates rules above and beyond the chemical data reporting (CDR) requirements.

TSCA chemical testing and reporting

TSCA Testing for Chemicals and Mixtures

Another section of TSCA that doesn’t get as much attention as the chemical reporting rules is Section 4. TSCA Section 4 empowers EPA to require chemical manufacturers, importers, and processors to test certain chemical substances and mixtures. These testing programs are meant to identify chemical products or mixtures that contain substances that may be hazardous to human health and the environment.

40 CFR 766, for example, creates a comprehensive testing and reporting system for halogenated dibenzodioxins (HDDs) and halogenated dibenzofurans (HDFs). A full list of substances covered under TSCA Section 4 is available at EPA’s website.

What Are Halogenated Dibenzodioxins and Dibenzofurans?

HDDS and HDFs are both carcinogens that can, over time, build up in human fatty tissue (bioaccumulation) and not only contribute to the development of cancer, but ultimately affect reproduction, sexual development, and the immune system. “Halogenation” is a chemical reaction in which atoms of a halogen—reactive nonmetallic elements like fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine—are introduced into a compound or molecule.

Technically speaking, dibenzodioxins are “any of a family of compounds which has as a nucleus a triple-ring structure consisting of two benzene rings connected through a pair of oxygen atoms.”

Dibenzofurans are “any of a family of compounds which has as a nucleus a triple-ring structure consisting of two benzene rings connection through a pair of bridges between the benzene rings. The bridges are a carbon-carbon bridge and a carbon-oxygen-carbon bridge at both substitution positions.”

A full list of the chemical substances which must be tested for the presence of HDDs and HDFs can be found at 40 CFR 766.25 and 766.38.

Testing for HDDs and HDFs Under TSCA

Manufacturers and importers of covered chemicals must test to determine whether their products are contaminated with HDDs/HDFs. Testing must be done in accordance with protocols the EPA has published in 40 CFR 766.28, including:
  • A statement of how many grades of the substance the manufacturer produces
  • A justification for why the specific grade was selected for testing
  • Plans for collection of samples from the process stream
  • Identification of the collection point by name
  • A description of the sampling method utilized
  • An estimate of how well the samples will represent the substance as a whole
  • A description of how control and duplicate samples will be handled
  • A description of chemical extraction and clean-up procedures
  • A methodology for establishing extraction and measurement efficiency
  • A Quality Assurance Plan
  • A description of the instruments to be used and their operating conditions
TSCA Section 4 Reporting Requirements

No later than 60 days after commencing manufacturing, importing, or processing of a material listed at 40 CFR 766.25 or 766.38, the regulated facility must submit a Letter of Intent to comply to EPA.

After testing for the specific chemicals, manufactures and importers must report their findings to EPA per 40 CFR 766.35. Testing protocols must be submitted within 12 months after manufacture or import begins for listed chlorinated chemicals and within 24 months after manufacture or import begins for brominated chemical substances.

Test results must be submitted no later than 270 days after EPA transmits comments to the reporter or 180 days after a final protocol is submitted to the Agency, whichever is shorter.

All letters of intent, protocols, and test results must be submitted electronically using EPA’s Chemical Information Submission System (CISS) via its Central Data Exchange (CDX) web portal.

Get Ready to Report! TSCA Webinar—March 17

Be confident you are ready to meet your reporting responsibilities under TSCA in 2016! This year, more data than ever before will be subject to the reporting requirements, and it’s critical that you know the latest rules.

On March 17, from 1–3 p.m. ET, attend the live, expert-led TSCA Chemical Reporting & Recordkeeping Webinar to get up to speed. Be certain you know what it takes to keep your site in compliance and avoid EPA fines as high as $37,500 per day, per violation. Sign up now!

Tags: EPA, reporting and recordkeeping, TSCA

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