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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Six things to know about the amended Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA)

By Mark Sadaka

Any organic or inorganic substance derived from chemical reaction is chemical per the TSCA
The amended TSCA expedites banning of toxic substances
In 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). It mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protect the public from any form of unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. This legislation gave the EPA the authority to regulate the manufacturing and sale of chemicals. 

The agency would also regulate and evaluate new chemicals prior to them reaching end markets. It would determine if all chemicals known in 1976 were an unreasonable risk to the environment or health. They were responsible for regulating the distribution of chemicals. In June of 2016, the core provisions of the TSCA were amended. It provided the first ever changes to this law.

Chemical review deadline

According to the TSCA, a chemical substance is any organic or inorganic substance with a molecular identity that occurs from a chemical reaction in nature. The new bill provides the EPA with deadlines for reviewing chemicals. This means highly toxic chemicals will be banned by the EPA much faster. Within 180 days of the bill's passage, a review of a minimum of 10 chemicals must have started. During the initial three-and-a-half years, the process of 20 chemical evaluations has to have begun. The previous TSCA had no review deadlines. It is believed the establishment of these deadlines will drastically improve the EPA's chemical review process.

Chemical reviews

The initial chemicals to be reviewed by the EPA will come from the agency's current list of chemicals that pose a potential risk for the health of a child and are found in biomonitoring programs, are environmentally persistent and more. After the initial chemicals are reviewed by the EPA, it will give priority to those that have a large potential for exposure. The agency must also handle chemicals that pose a health threat to the most vulnerable of society. More prioritization standards will be provided to EPA by June of 2017.

Chemical Spills

The new TSCA law is not intended to prevent or deal with chemical spills. It is anticipated that the requirements of it will decrease the impact of spills or similar accidents. The new requirements make it mandatory for chemical companies to provide information concerning the contents of their products in emergency situations. They will no longer be able to claim these contents are protected as trade secrets.

Chemical Product Ingredients

The requirement for all chemicals to be evaluated is anticipated to impact the chemicals used for product ingredients. It will influence how chemicals are utilized during manufacturing. The chemical manufacturing process will also be impacted. Companies must now make an effort not to use chemicals that are restricted or banned. This should lead to safer end products as well as safer chemicals on the market.


The new TSCA provides for actions to be taken by state legislatures as well as citizens. Actions on the uses of chemicals will be instrumental in determining which chemicals are utilized with consumer products. EPA executives believe the new law has the potential to provide significant protection for the environment as well as people. The law is designed to be successful with public and state government engagement. It is believed the creation of a process to choose the safest chemicals for consumer products will occur over time.


It is now a requirement that all chemicals be found safe before a company can legally sell them. The law is structured so that it will depend on funding that is available. It requires members of the chemical industry to assist with funding the new program. Money from the federal budget will also be used. The size of the budget will be determined by Congress. There are provisions contained within the amended TSCA designed to ensure the EPA has all of the financial resources necessary to perform its required oversight duties.

About the author: Mark Sadaka from Sadakafirm, the leading Hazardous Chemical Attorney, has a national practice and works with clients from New York to Alaska.

Image: Chemical & Engineering News Phtostream/Flickr; "Dish"; CC BY 2.0