EPA Proposing New Toxic Substances Rules

Dudley W Hoskins Posted on 01/18/2017 by Dudley W Hoskins

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three new proposed rules on how the Agency will prioritize and evaluate chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017.

The three rules EPA is proposing to help administer the new process are:

  • Inventory rule: There are currently over 85,000 chemicals on EPA’s Inventory, many of these are no longer actively produced. The rule will require manufacturers, including importers, to notify EPA and the public on the number of chemicals still being produced.
  • Prioritization rule: This will establish how EPA will prioritize chemicals for evaluation.  EPA will use a risk-based screening process and criteria to identify whether a particular chemical is either high or low priority.  A chemical designated as high-priority must undergo evaluation. Chemicals designated as low-priority are not required to undergo evaluation.
  • Risk Evaluation rule: This will establish how EPA will evaluate the risk of existing chemicals.  The agency will identify steps for the risk evaluation process, including publishing the scope of the assessment. Chemical hazards and exposures will be assessed along with characterizing and determining risks.  This rule also outlines how the agency intends to seek public comment on chemical evaluations.

These three rules incorporate comments received from a series of public meetings held in August 2016.

If EPA identifies unreasonable risk in the evaluation, it is required to eliminate that risk through regulations.  Under TSCA the agency must have at least 20 ongoing risk evaluations by the end of 2019.

Comments on the proposed rules must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register by searching for: HQ-OPPT-2016-0426 for the inventory rule; HQ-OPPT-2016-0636 for the prioritization rule; and HQ-OPPT-2016-0654 for the risk evaluation rule.  Learn more about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act here.

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