The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (15 U.S.C. §2601 et seq.) provides EPA with authority to require reporting, recordkeeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.

TSCA provides authority to:

  • Require pre-manufacture notification for "new chemical substances" before manufacture (Section 5)

  • Require testing of chemicals by manufacturers, importers, and processors where risks or exposures of concern are found (Section 4)

  • Issue Significant New Use Rules (SNURs), under Section 5, when it identifies a "significant new use" that could result in exposures to, or releases of, a substance of concern.

  • Maintain the TSCA Inventory which contains more than 83,000 chemicals. As new chemicals are commercially manufactured or imported, they are placed on the list (Section 8)

  • Require those importing or exporting chemicals to comply with certification reporting and/or other requirements (Sections 12(b) and 13).

  • Require, under Section 8, reporting and record-keeping by persons who manufacture, import, process, and/or distribute chemical substances in commerce.

  • Require, under Section 8(e), that any person who manufactures (including imports), processes, or distributes in commerce a chemical substance or mixture and who obtains information which reasonably supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment to immediately inform EPA, except where EPA has been adequately informed of such information. EPA screens all TSCA b§8(e) submissions as well as voluntary "For Your Information" (FYI) submissions. The latter are not required by law, but are submitted by industry and public interest groups for a variety of reason.

Six chemical substances receive special attention under TSCA. Those include PCBs, asbestos, radon, lead, mercury, and formaldehyde.

TSCA gives EPA the authority to take action to address unreasonable risks to public health or the environment from chemicals currently on the market. If at the end of the risk evaluation process EPA determines that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk to health or the environment, the agency must immediately start the risk management process to reduce or eliminate these risks. You can find the list of all chemicals undergoing risk evaluation by the EPA here. The EPA is also currently taking actions to reduce or eliminate unreasonable risks from several other chemicals.

On June 22, 2016, TSCA was amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act).

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