EPA Releases Latest Update to TSCA Inventory

On March 4, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of the most up-to-date version of its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. Here we review the origins of TSCA and the TSCA Inventory, and we look at changes in the number of chemicals in the current update relative to other recent ones.

About TSCA and the Inventory

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), passed by the United States Congress in 1976, is a law that regulates the introduction of existing and new chemicals. According to the EPA, a principal goal with its enactment was to enable the Agency to “require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures.”

Since its initial release, TSCA has been amended several times. The most significant instance occurred in 2016 via the passing of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). Among other things, the Lautenberg Act mandates that the EPA require chemical information quickly, test existing chemicals by established deadlines, and work toward elimination of unreasonable risks.

TSCA requires that the EPA compile and publish the Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical Substance Inventory - a current list reflecting all chemicals manufactured, processed, or imported in the United States that do not qualify for an exclusion or exemption under TSCA. Originally published in 1979, the Inventory has grown steadily since then and continues to play a fundamental role in industrial chemical regulation.

The Updated Inventory

The TSCA Inventory lists chemicals that are “active” (versus “inactive”) in commerce within the United States. The Inventory currently contains 86,631 chemicals, of which 42,039 (48.53%) are active in commerce. This represents a net increase of 24 chemicals since the Inventory’s August 2021 update, and a net increase of 86 chemicals possessing an active designation.

The changes in the Inventory follow a steady pattern of increase over the last several updates:

TSCA Inventory UpdateTotal Number of ChemicalsNumber of Chemicals Active in CommercePercentage of Chemicals Active in Commerce
Early 202186,55741,86448.37%
Late 202186,60741,95348.44%
Early 2022 (Current Update)86,63142,03948.53%

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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