Chemical “Reset”: Make Sure the Substances You Manufacture, Import or Use Are EPA “Active”
As part of the continuing implementation of the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is moving rapidly to complete designation of chemicals in commerce that are considered “active.” This “Reset” effort is a first step in helping the agency pare down the thousands of chemicals listed on the TSCA Inventory and identify a subset for possible evaluation under the new chemical prioritization and risk evaluation requirements.
While seemingly mundane, this is important stuff: chemicals that are classified as “inactive” will not be able to be manufactured or imported into the U.S. without going through EPA’s pre-manufacture notice (PMN) and review process. PMN is something to avoid, particularly after the 2016 amendments shifted the burden of proof to require that EPA now make an affirmative finding that the substance does not pose an unreasonable risk to health or the environment before allowing it on the market.
On April 12, EPA released an updated public version of the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory, which for the first time includes the “active” designations. The updated Inventory can be accessed here. (https://www.epa.gov/tsca-inventory/how-access-tsca-inventory) . The agency also released an updated list of substances reported as “active” during the current notification process pursuant to the “TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule.” (https://www.epa.gov/tsca-inventory/list-substances-reported-under-tsca-inventory-notification-active-inactive-rule). Under this program, manufacturers (including importers) were to notify EPA by February 7, 2018, of substances they currently manufacture or import, and which therefore should be deemed “active.” Fortunately, EPA also exempted from reporting, and automatically identified as “active,” substances reported under the 2012 and 2016 Chemical Data Reporting rule periods (as well as naturally occurring substances). So long as a substance is either notified to EPA by at least one company or considered exempt from reporting, then the substance is classified as “active.” At latest report, approximately 35,000 substances, or about half of the chemicals on the current TSCA Inventory, are listed as “active.”
“Processors” of chemicals – in essence, companies that use chemicals or incorporate them into their products – are now eligible to notify EPA by October 5, 2018, of any substances that have yet to be designated as “active” but which they currently use. Companies should compare their internal list of chemicals they manufacture or use with the EPA exempt list and the newly released list of already notified chemicals. If a chemical does not appear on those lists, the company should notify EPA.