TSCA Chemical Reform – How Will This Affect Your Operations?

(Based on article published in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News on 12-1-16)

The EPA has announced the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace.” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

This presented the opportunity to evaluate existing chemicals which have been of great concern to EPA but for which they were previously powerless to access the risk under TSCA, most notably Asbestos, Carbon Tetrachloride, TCE, and PCE.

Manufacturers of building materials, construction companies, and metal fabricators/ coaters using metal degreasing solutions should take special note of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated which are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires EPA to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These chemicals were drawn from EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations.

When the list is published in the Federal Register it will trigger a statutory deadline to complete risk evaluations for these chemicals within three years.  This evaluation will determine whether the chemicals present an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment. If it is determined that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk, EPA must mitigate that risk within two years. This would mean imposing severe limitations on the manufacture and/or use of high risk chemicals or forcing the shift to safer and more “environmentally friendly” alternatives. Since this could mean lengthy (and potentially costly) testing and approval in multiple applications for any alternate chemicals which may be available, companies should not wait for EPA’s final risk determination to start assessing their options.

Under the newly amended law, EPA must release a scoping document within six months for each chemical. This will include the hazard(s), exposure(s), conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the agency plans to consider for the evaluation.

Additional chemicals will be designated for evaluation, and all of the remaining Work Plan chemicals will be reviewed for their potential hazard and exposure. For each risk evaluation that EPA completes, TSCA requires that EPA begin another. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least 20 chemical risk valuations ongoing at any given time.

For more on the chemicals listed and additional information: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/evaluating-risk-existing-chemicals-under-tsca

Still not sure of what impact this may have on your facility?  Let CTI assist you on staying in-compliance with TSCA regulations.

Published by Stephen Kovatch

Senior Client Manager  Stephen J. Kovatch focuses on assisting clients in establishing corporate regulatory compliance programs in the areas of air, water, and waste management. Mr. Kovatch also provides direction to industrial facility owners who are active in the transaction of contaminated property by defining objectives, coordinating soil and water sampling protocols, risk assessment, and remedial / cleanup activities. He frequently represents clients in property sales negotiations and regulatory agency and insurance proceedings.

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