Toxic Substances Control Act Amendments Signed into Law

On Tuesday, June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (the Act) into law, amending the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to strengthen regulations concerning the manufacture and use of existing chemicals, and how new chemicals are introduced into commerce. These changes to the law take effect immediately.

Amendments to TSCA:

  • The Act repeals the requirement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apply the least burdensome means of adequately protecting against unreasonable risk from chemicals;
  • Revises the USEPA’s authority to require the development of new information about a chemical by establishing a risk-based screening process; and
  • Establishes a safety standard to ensure no unreasonable risk of harm to health or the environment will result from exposure to a chemical under the conditions of use, including the protection of potentially exposed or susceptible populations. The standard does not take cost or other non-risk factors into consideration.

What is the result of these changes?

  • USEPA must prohibit or restrict the manufacturer, processing, use, distribution, or disposal of a new chemical, or a significant new use of an existing chemical, if the chemical will not likely meet the safety standard, or additional information is necessary to make a safety determination.
  • USEPA must impose restrictions if a chemical does not meet the safety standard, taking into consideration the costs and benefits of a proposed restriction, as well as at least one alternative restriction. If the standard cannot be met even after applying restrictions, USEPA must ban or phase out the chemical. The preemption of state restrictions on high-priority substances begins once USEPA starts a safety assessment.
  • USEPA must designate a certain number of existing chemicals as high- or low-priority by specific deadlines for safety assessments and determinations and conduct safety assessments and determinations for high-priority chemicals. Policies, procedures, and guidelines implemented under TSCA are required to be based on best available science, the weight of the scientific evidence, the use of peer review, and identification of individuals and entities funding the generation or assessment of information.
  • The amendment requires manufacturers and processors to pay fees to cover the costs of this bill into the TSCA Implementation Fund.

The President must establish an inter agency Sustainable Chemistry Program to promote and coordinate federal sustainable chemistry research, development, demonstration, technology transfer, commercialization, education, and training activities.

EHS Support is assessing the bill and its potential effect on our clients’ business and will provide additional analysis as it becomes available.

Full text of the law can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/697/text

 

For more information on this alert, please contact Maureen Hodson

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