TSCA as amended by the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA)
In June 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA), the first major overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since it was enacted in 1976. Moreover, the LCSA substantially changes the way in which chemical substances and related chemical products, such as cleaners, are regulated in the United States.
One of the major changes brought about by the LCSA is the increased focus on the role of processors (i.e., formulators or manufacturers of end use chemical-based products such as cleaners), and the products they produce. This increased regulatory focus on processors or formulators is a by-product of the LCSA’s structure: While the LCSA continues to focus upon raw materials and chemical substances, it also establishes for EPA a direct link to product regulation that was absent under the previous TSCA.
One of the main thrusts of the LCSA is a more regimented approach to evaluating and regulating existing chemicals. In this regard, EPA must conduct the following activities under TSCA as revised by the LCSA:
- Prioritization: EPA must screen and evaluate all chemicals in active use to identify low and high priority substances for risk evaluation. Prioritization is based on factors such as hazards, uses, and exposures to people and the environment.
- Low Priority Chemicals: These chemicals can remain in use but may be reprioritized based on new information.
- High Priority Chemicals: EPA is required to conduct a thorough risk evaluation of these chemicals.
- Risk Evaluation: EPA’s risk evaluation must:
- Be based solely on health and environmental information
- Consider a chemical’s conditions of use (i.e., use patterns associated with products in which the chemical appears)
- Rely on the best available studies and weight of the evidence
- Consider risks to vulnerable populations.
- Risk Management: If EPA determines that a chemical requires risk management, the agency’s options include:
- Additional labeling requirements
- Use restrictions
- Phase outs of the use of the substance
- Outright ban or prohibition.
For more detailed information on EPA’s implementation of the LCSA, please click here.