EPA Releases First Major Update to Chemicals List in 40 Years
February 26, 2019
On Feb. 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an update of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory listing the chemicals that are actively being manufactured, processed and imported in the United States. A key result of the update is that less than half of the total number of chemicals on the current TSCA Inventory – 47 percent or 40,655 of the 86,228 chemicals – are currently active in commerce. It will be illegal for companies to manufacture, import or mix chemicals not designated as “active in commerce.” EPA’s TSCA Inventory Reset rule established the process by which substances on the TSCA Inventory are designated as “active” or “inactive.” Now that the TSCA Inventory has been “reset,” no one is permitted to manufacture or process an inactive chemical substance without first submitting a notification to EPA.
The final inventory will be in effect on May 20, 2019. As of the effective date, companies must submit a Form B notification prior to manufacturing or processing a chemical with an inactive designation. In the interim period, EPA will accept any corrections to the inventory also on a Form B submission. EPA has not provided information about enforcement after the 90-day phase in period.
As recently as 2018, the TSCA Inventory showed over 86,000 chemicals available for commercial production and use in the United States. Until this update, it was not known which of these chemicals on the TSCA Inventory were in commerce. Under amended TSCA – The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21 Century Act – EPA was required to update the list and designate which chemicals are active or inactive in U.S. commerce.
More than 80 percent (32,898) of the chemicals in commerce have identities that are not Confidential Business Information (CBI), increasing public access to additional information about them. For the less than 20 percent of the chemicals in commerce that have confidential identities, EPA is developing a rule outlining how the Agency will review and substantiate all CBI claims seeking to protect the specific chemical identities of substances on the confidential portion of the TSCA Inventory.
From August 11, 2017 through October 5, 2018, chemical manufacturers and processors provided information on which chemicals were manufactured, imported or processed in the United States over the past 10 years, the period ending June 21, 2016. The agency received more than 90,000 responses, which represents a significant reporting effort by manufacturers, importers and processors.
Next Batch of High Priority Chemicals
EPA is expected to publish its next list of 20 high priority candidate chemicals by March 22, 2019. EPA must decide at least 10 of these from the remaining TSCA workplan chemicals, although it will probably select more than 10, if not all 20, from the TSCA workplan. EPA will select chemicals like the first 10, such as solvents or pigments. Several workplan chemicals are relevant to paints, coatings, sealants and adhesives, as noted in the following table.
ACA will remain engaged with EPA as it considers chemicals from its TSCA workplan.
Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.