Toxic Substances Control Act

TSCA was first passed in 1976 and amended in 2016. TSCA (15 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2697) provides EPA with the authority to require that chemicals be tested for their potential health and environmental effects prior to or after their introduction into commerce; to collect, analyze, and review data concerning chemicals and new uses of chemicals prior to and after their introduction into commerce; and to restrict the manufacturing (including importation), processing, distribution, disposal, or use of these substances if they present or will present an unreasonable risk to human health or environment. TSCA broadly defines the term "chemical substance,” however, several exclusions are provided in section 3(2)(B), including (i) mixtures, (ii) pesticides, (iii) tobacco and tobacco products, (iv) nuclear materials and byproducts, (v) pistols, firearms, revolvers, shells, cartridges, certain ammunition (bullets and shot), (vi) food, food additives, drugs, cosmetics, and devices.

TSCA contains the following subchapters:

Title I-Control of Toxic Substances

Title II-Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response

Title III-Indoor Radon Abatement

Title IV-Lead Exposure Reduction

Title V Healthy High Performance Schools

Title VI- Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products

Various sections of TSCA provide authority to:

  • Require, under Section 5, pre-manufacture notification for "new chemical substances" before manufacture

  • Require, under Section 4, testing of chemicals by manufacturers, importers, and processors where risks or exposures of concern are found

  • Issue Significant New Use Rules (SNURs), under Section 5, when it identifies a "significant new use" that could result in exposures to, or releases of, a substance of concern.

  • Maintain the TSCA Inventory, under Section 8, which contains more than 83,000 chemicals. As new chemicals are commercially manufactured or imported, they are placed on the list.

  • Require those importing or exporting chemicals, under Sections 12(b) and 13, to comply with certification reporting and/or other requirements.

  • Require, under Section 8, reporting and record-keeping by persons who manufacture, import, process, and/or distribute chemical substances in commerce.

  • Require, under Section 8(e), that any person who manufactures (including imports), processes, or distributes in commerce a chemical substance or mixture and who obtains information which reasonably supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment to immediately inform EPA, except where EPA has been adequately informed of such information.  EPA screens all TSCA b§8(e) submissions as well as voluntary "For Your Information" (FYI) submissions. The latter are not required by law, but are submitted by industry and public interest groups for a variety of reasons.

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