On September 28, 2018 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took its first steps in identifying the next group of chemicals for risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  In this action, the EPA published a document entitled “A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization.”  This document describes the near-term approach that the EPA anticipates using to identify potential candidates for the initial 20 “High-Priority” and 20 “Low-Priority” chemicals that must be identified under Section 6 (b) (2)(B) of TSCA.   TSCA requires at least 50% of the chemicals undergoing risk evaluation must come from the “2014 Update to the TSCA Work Plan.”

In developing the work plan, the EPA took into consideration a variety of factors including 1) potential concern for children’s health; 2) persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, probable or known carcinogens; 3) use in consumer products; and 4) detection in biomonitoring programs.  These chemicals were screened and sorted into four categories: high, moderate, low and information gathering.  Based on this process, the EPA identified 83 chemicals receiving high scores and those became the focus of a 2012 Work Plan. This list of chemicals were then rescreened using the same methodology in 2014 with updated industry  data submitted through the 2011 Toxics Release Inventory and the 2012 Chemical Data Reporting requirements.  This process resulted in 90 chemicals being placed in the 2014 TSCA Work Plan.     

By December 2019, the EPA must designate at least 20 chemical substances as “High-Priority” for risk evaluation and 20 chemical substances as “Low-Priority” for which risk evaluation is not currently warranted.  “A Working Approach for Identifying Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization” sets forth a longer term risk-based approach for managing the larger TSCA list of 40,000 active chemicals by placing the remaining chemicals on the TSCA active inventory into bins based on information from both the National Association of Manufacturers and traditional approaches covering domains of hazard, exposure persistence, and bioaccumulation for human and ecological domains.  These bins will be defined using a combination of binning scores and information that is available regarding the chemical.  The binning score will be made up of the following scores:

·         Human Hazardous to Exposure Ratio
·         Genotoxicity
·         Ecological Hazard
·         Susceptible Population
·         Persistence/Bioaccumulation

More detail on the proposed short-term and long-term approaches that the EPA is proposing can be found in “A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization.” The  EPA is receiving comments on its proposed action until November 15, 2018.  Your comments are being encouraged as this action will set the course for EPA’s action under TSCA.

If you have any questions regarding the Toxic Substances Control Act or have other environmental concerns, please contact me directly at (919) 459-5225 or [email protected].