OIG Releases Report Reviewing EPA's Ability to Meet Lautenberg Act Deadlines

In August 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report focused on the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recent review to assess the extent to which the Agency met key deadlines established by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). In this blog post, we discuss this report and look at several of its findings and recommendations.

Key Findings

The EPA’s OIG conducted its year-long review from May 2019 to June 2020. While the Office found that the EPA did meet a number of established deadlines, that was not the case for all of them.

Key reviewed deadlines and the status of their completion are outlined in the table below.

Publish a list of mercury compounds that are prohibited from export in the Federal Register.9/20/2016Completed
Report to Congress on resources needed to conduct the minimum number of risk evaluations and on the EPA’s ability to conduct and publish risk evaluations.12/22/2016Completed Late
Identify and start the first ten chemical risk evaluations.12/19/2016Completed
Create a rule for updating the TSCA chemical inventory.6/22/2017Completed
Finalize the Risk Prioritization Rule.6/22/2017Completed
Finalize the Risk Evaluation Rule.6/22/2017Completed
Publish scope information for the first ten chemical risk evaluations.6/22/2017Completed
Create guidance information for external risk evaluation development and submission.6/22/2017Completed
Create rule covering information requirements for manufacturers of mercury and products to which mercury has been added.6/22/2018Completed
Publish a plan to advance the use of non-animal testing methods.6/22/2017Completed
Create and finalize a User Fee RuleNACompleted
Publish proposed rule for CBI under TSCA.2/19/2020Completed
Publish proposed rule for PBT chemical regulation.6/22/2019Completed
Propose low-priority designations for 20 chemical substances.8/13/2019Completed
Publish annual existing chemical risk evaluation plan.
  • 1/2017
  • 1/2018
  • 1/2019
  • 1/2020
  • Completed Late
  • Completed
  • Completed Late
  • Completed Late
Identify 20 high-priority chemical substances.12/22/2019Completed
Finalize 20 low-priority chemical designations.12/22/2019Completed Late
Publish final rule for CBI under TSCA.2/19/2020Completed
Complete first ten existing chemical risk evaluations.2/22/2019 - 6/19/2020Incomplete
Publish scoping information for 20 high-priority chemicals.6/30/2020Incomplete
Publish final rule for PBT chemical regulation.12/22/2020In Progress
Complete 20 high-priority chemical risk evaluations.12/30/2022In Progress

Source: U,S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA, in particular, did not meet its June 2020 deadline for fully completing its first ten existing chemical risk evaluations. The OIG’s report concluded that the Agency's risk evaluation plans did not determine the resources that would be required for the evaluations conducted each year. The report also concluded that the EPA has not shown that it has a plan in place to address some future requirements. While the EPA has hired additional staff, and has plans to hire more, this may not be enough to align with the findings from a 2019 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) staffing analysis. The OIG noted that these factors call into question whether the Agency will be able to meet other TSCA deadlines successfully.


The report lists several important recommendations the OIG has made for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, including:

  • Publishing the forthcoming Annual Existing Chemical Risk Evaluation Plan by the start of next year, and including information on required resources and anticipated implementation efforts
  • Performing a workforce analysis to evaluate the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics' TSCA implementation abilities
  • Specifying the skill gaps that need to be filled during fiscal year 2021 in order to address requirements of TSCA

More Information

More detailed information on the OIG’s recent review may be found by accessing the Office’s report Lack of Planning Risks EPA’s Ability to Meet Toxic Substances Control Act Deadlines. Additionally, you can visit the ToxPlanet website and blog regularly for information on new developments. Also, be sure to contact us and register for a Free Trial to learn how our diverse suite of solutions can help address your chemical hazard information needs.