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TSCA: Toxic Substances Control Act


The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to track the 86,000+ industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the United States. The EPA repeatedly screens these chemicals and can require reporting or testing of those that may pose an environmental or human-health hazard. EPA could (in theory; see below) ban the manufacture and import of those chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk.

A number of changes to the Act took effect on June 22, 2016; see the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act information below.

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The U.S. EPA also tracks the thousands of new chemicals that industry develops each year with either unknown or dangerous characteristics. TSCA supplements other Federal statutes, including the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).

TSCA applies to organizations that involve the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use, and/or disposal of a new or existing chemical substance or mixture that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The reporting threshold was raised in 2002 from 10,000 lbs (4,500 kg) to 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) per year. Most businesses that meet the 40 CFR 704.3 definition for small manufacturer or importer are exempt from reporting requirements. A business meets that criterion when total annual sales are less than $40 million and the manufacturing or import volume is less than 100,000 pounds (45,360 kg) at all sites.

By definition, TSCA-regulated chemical substances and mixture do not include "...any source material, special nuclear material, or byproduct material (as such terms are defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and regulations issued under such Act)..." [TSCA, Section 3(2)(B)(iv)]. Although TSCA excludes nuclear material, the TSCA-regulated portion of a mixed nuclear and regulated waste must comply with TSCA requirements. Materials that are not chemical substances or mixtures are not subject to the requirements of TSCA.

Any substance that is not on the Inventory is classified as a new chemical. If a substance is "new", it can be manufactured for a commercial purpose only if it is subject to an exemption from PMN (Premanufacture Notice) reporting or a TSCA reporting exclusion. For substances which are "existing", the Inventory can be used to determine if there are restrictions on manufacture or use. See Further Reading below for more information.

TSCA and its updates specifically address certain high-profile chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), asbestos, lead and radon.

A TSCA report for 25,000 lbs or more includes:

For substances with annual volumes of 300,000 lbs (136,000 kg) or more per site, significant additional information is also reported.

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Under the Inventory Update Rule (IUR) the TSCA inventory is updated every 5 years. Prior to 2006, the update period was 4 years. Some new changes included in the 2002 update were:

Entry last updated: Friday, March 4, 2022. This page is copyright 2000-2024 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate, however ILPI makes no guarantees concerning the veracity of any statement. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. ILPI strongly encourages the reader to consult the appropriate local, state and federal agencies concerning the matters discussed herein.