EPA Begins TSCA Pre-Prioritization Process for Chemical Risk Evaluation
October 9, 2018
On Sept. 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Pre-Prioritization guidelines, “A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization.” The guidelines outline the agency’s approach it will use to identify chemicals that could be included in the next group of risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Under the 2016 TSCA amendments, EPA is required to focus on 40 chemicals next year and designate 20 as “high priority.” EPA must designate at least 20 chemical substances as High-Priority for risk evaluation and 20 chemical substances as Low-Priority by December 2019. That designation means the agency must launch a detailed risk evaluation.
To meet the statutory and regulatory prioritization deadlines, the EPA will need to start the pre-prioritization process as soon as possible. As such, EPA will be opening a docket for each of the 73 chemicals on the TSCA Work Plan, and an additional docket for any chemicals the public believes the Agency should be evaluating that are not currently on the Work Plan. Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will open 73 chemical-specific public dockets, one for each of the remaining chemicals on the 2014 TSCA Work Plan. Additionally, there will be a general docket open for the public to suggest chemicals for risk evaluation that are not on the Work Plan. With this action, EPA will provide the public an opportunity to submit use, hazard, and exposure information on these chemicals. EPA will use this data to inform TSCA prioritization and risk evaluation for these chemicals.
EPA’s Pre-Prioritization guidelines also includes a longer-term risk-based strategy for managing the larger TSCA chemical landscape which, according to the TSCA Inventory, is composed of more than 40,000 active chemicals. This longer-term approach proposes parsing chemicals into “bins” that can be used to inform multiple activities and priorities throughout EPA, including within the TSCA program. After the Federal Register notice publishes, EPA will open a public docket to accept comments on this longer-term strategy, which will inform its continued development and help outline a public meeting to be held in early 2019.
Reportedly, input of other federal departments and other EPA program offices also will be factors in the chemical program’s selection process as it considers environmental, health, and control information submitted on 73 chemicals.
ACA is working with members to provide feedback to EPA on several of the chemical substances under consideration.
Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.