The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (15 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.), initially enacted in 1976, is the general chemical control law in the United States. TSCA regulates the manufacture, import, processing, distribution, use, and export of non-exempt “chemical substances,” including detergents and surfactants. TSCA is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” (LCSA) was enacted on June 22, 2016, and significantly modified TSCA. The LCSA provided for modified as well as new authority for EPA to review and regulate new and existing chemicals in U.S. commerce.
TSCA provides for the testing (section 4), premanufacture notification (section 5), regulation (sections 6, 7), and reporting (sections 8, 12, and 13) of new and existing non-exempt chemicals. Although the LCSA amended the majority of the substantive sections of TSCA, the law’s changes to section 5, 6, and 8(b) have had the most significant practical impact. EPA’s post-LCSA section 5 premanufacture notification (PMN) process is significantly different, the Agency is in the midst of prioritizing, assessing, and regulating new “high priority” chemicals under section 6, and the TSCA section 8(b) Inventory “reset” requirements impose new obligations on “inactive” chemicals.
Violations of TSCA are subject to enforcement and substantial monetary penalties. In addition, TSCA non-compliance can require immediate cessation of commercial activities. TSCA compliance is further complicated by complex and often unpublished nomenclature rules. Companies conducting business in the U.S. would be well-advised to take steps to diligently comply with TSCA.