On November 29, 2016, EPA announced the first ten chemicals for which the Agency will perform a risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), as reformed by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, passed earlier this year.  As part of this review, EPA will evaluate whether the chosen chemicals “present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.”

EPA will release a scoping document for each of the chemicals within six months of designation. The scoping document will includes the hazard(s), exposure(s), conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the Agency plans to consider. The Agency then must complete the full risk evaluations within three years. If the chemical presents an unreasonable risk, the law grants EPA two years to develop a rule to address the identified risks.

EPA selected the first ten chemicals from a list of ninety in the 2014 update to the TSCA Work Plan, which is the list EPA had been using to set the Agency’s priorities for evaluation and potential regulation of existing substances under TSCA, prior to its reform. The ten chemicals (listed below) have been identified by the Agency as exhibiting carcinogenic or acute aquatic toxicity characteristics.

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD)
  • Methylene Chloride (MC)
  • N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)
  • Pigment Violet 29 Anthra[2,1,9-def:6,5,10-d’e’f’]diisoquinoline-1,3,8,10(2H,9H)-tetrone
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene)

Notably, EPA still plans to move forward with imposing restrictions and potential bans for chemicals already under review (TCE, N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and methylene chloride) using their existing authority.

As revised, TSCA requires EPA to designate additional chemicals for evaluation, after the conclusion of an evaluation. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least twenty ongoing risk evaluations underway.  Although EPA’s outgoing toxics chief has stated that the various deadlines imposed by the newly revised TSCA will prevent the Trump administration from rolling back any of its provisions, it remains to be seen whether and how EPA will implement these new provisions under the new Administration.

EPA’s announcement of the review of these chemicals may be found in this EPA press release. For more information on EPA’s review of these substances or its implementation of TSCA reform more broadly, please contact Angela Levin, Doug Henderson, or Rich Pepper.