U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Takes First Steps in Identifying Next Group of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation under TSCA

Washington, DC - - (September 28, 2018) - - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the approach it will use to identify chemicals that could be included in the next group of risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Additionally, the Agency will be looking for input from the public on which chemicals should be prioritized for risk evaluation and which chemicals may be low priorities under TSCA.

“EPA will be open and transparent as we continue to review the safety of existing chemicals,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s announcement is an important first step in determining which chemicals will be prioritized for risk evaluation as we fulfill our obligations under TSCA and ensure chemicals in the marketplace are safe for human health and the environment.”

The document released today lays out EPA’s near-term approach for identifying potential chemicals for prioritization, the initial step in evaluating the safety of existing chemicals under TSCA. Building on the Agency’s promise to work with the public to select the next chemicals for risk evaluation, this approach reflects public input received at a December 2017 meeting and through the public docket. By December 2019, EPA must designate at least 20 chemical substances as High-Priority for risk evaluation and 20 chemical substances as Low-Priority for which risk evaluation is not currently warranted.

The document also includes a longer-term risk-based strategy for managing the larger TSCA chemical landscape which, according to the TSCA Inventory, is composed of more than 40,000 active chemicals. This longer-term approach proposes parsing chemicals into “bins” that can be used to inform multiple activities and priorities throughout EPA, including within the TSCA program. After the Federal Register notice publishes EPA will open a public docket to accept comments on this longer-term strategy, which will inform its continued development and help outline a public meeting to be held in early 2019.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will open 73 chemical-specific public dockets, one for each of the remaining chemicals on the 2014 TSCA Work Plan. Additionally, there will be a general docket open for the public to suggest chemicals for risk evaluation that are not on the Work Plan. With this action, the Agency will be providing the public an opportunity to submit use, hazard, and exposure information on these chemicals. EPA will use this data to inform TSCA prioritization and risk evaluation for these chemicals.

Read EPA’s approach to identifying potential chemicals for prioritization.

Find links to the 73 chemical-specific public dockets and the general chemical prioritization docket.

Background on The Trump Administration’s Lautenberg Act Accomplishments

The Trump Administration through its work at EPA has undertaken many implementation activities which have enabled the agency to meet its statutory responsibilities under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Nation’s primary chemicals management law.

EPA has already met critical initial deadlines from the Lautenberg Act, including issuing the framework rules on existing chemicals prioritization, risk evaluation, existing chemicals inventory by the first-year anniversary of the Act on June 22, 2017.

On the second-year anniversary of the Lautenberg Act, EPA issued:
  • Mercury Use Reporting Rule with deadlines and requirements to assist in updating the inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States.
  • Alternative Testing Strategy to promote the development of alternative test methods to reduce vertebrate animal testing. On March 7, 2018, EPA released the draft strategy for public comment.
  • Guidance on Generic Names.
  • Policy on Assigning Unique Identifiers.: EPA will develop a policy for assigning unique identifiers to chemicals and applying those identifiers to other information concerning the same chemical.
  • Guidance on Expanding CBI access to states, tribes, and local governments; health and environmental professionals; and first responders.
Finally, on September 27, 2018, EPA issued a final Fees Rule to provide funding for Lautenberg Act implementation, including risk evaluations and reviewing CBI.

Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency