TSCA Reform Bill is Signed into Law
The TSCA reform bill, H.R. 2576, which was intended to “modernize” the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, was signed into law on June 22, 1016, by President Barack Obama. The “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” is effective upon enactment, and therefore will affect currently pending actions.
The cornerstone provision of the new law provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with broad authority to prioritize, review, and regulate “existing” chemicals in U.S. commerce. Some of the other highlights of the new law are listed below.
- Industry identification of “active” substances in U.S. commerce
- Prioritization of active substances into high- and low-priority substances
- Agency-driven process for reviewing grandfathered chemicals, with a minimum, measured, regulatory pace
- Risk-based safety standard evaluated under conditions of use prohibiting consideration of costs or other non-risk factors and requiring consideration of potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations
- No lock-step information requirements, with alternative testing playing a central role
- Science-based risk assessments
- Broad Agency authority to regulate, but requiring EPA to consider alternatives in bans and phase-outs
- Preservation of confidential business information (CBI), substantiation required in many cases, with more liberal disclosure authority and need to renew many claims every 10 years
- Industry to pay a portion of the cost of Agency chemical reviews
An announcement about the new law can be found on EPA’s website.