TSCA Chemical Risk Evaluation Policy Changes Announced By EPA
In June 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced key changes in policy related to Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations, particularly those issued during the previous presidential administration. The Agency also announced a plan for moving forward for the first 10 chemicals to undergo risk evaluation. In this blog past, we consider these evaluations and review key aspects of the plan.
Passed by the United States Congress in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a law that regulates the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. A principal goal with its enactment was to ensure that chemicals manufactured, processed, imported, distributed, used, or disposed of in the United States do not pose unreasonable risks to the environment or to human health.
On January 14, 2021, the EPA completed the process of risk evaluation for the first group of 10 chemical substances requiring risk evaluation under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). Since this time, several shortcomings have been identified relative to the evaluation process employed during the previous presidential administration.
In response to this, the EPA has announced key policy changes focused on several areas, including:
- PPE Availability and Use
- “Whole Chemical” Assessment
- Exposure Pathways
PPE Availability and Use
- An assumption was made during the first 10 chemical risk evaluations that PPE availability for workers was always a given. It was also assumed that such equipment was always used properly. As this assumption was found to be incorrect, the EPA intends to review PPE use information more thoroughly during the risk management process.
“Whole Chemical” Assessment
- During the risk evaluation process for the first 10 chemicals, the EPA made a determination of unreasonable risk for every chemical use condition. Moving forward, the Agency intends to make a single unreasonable risk determination for a chemical when that single determination is applicable to most use conditions.
- As regulation previously occurred, or was possible, under other EPA statutes for certain exposure pathways (e.g., air, water, disposal), these pathways were not evaluated during the risk evaluation process for the first 10 chemicals. For six of these chemicals (1-bromopropane, carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, NMP, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene), the EPA intends to review more extensively whether a greater risk to fenceline communities may result from this.
More detailed information on the EPA's recent TSCA chemical risk evaluation policy changes may be found on the Agency's website.
Additional Toxic Chemical Information and More
For accessing additional information on any of the first 10 chemicals to undergo risk evaluation, as well as a multitude of other substances, ToxPlanet offers invaluable resources.
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