The LCSA updates to the TSCA have been bringing up lots of conversations, but it’s not completely clear how they’ll affect manufacturers and importers.
A recent survey within the chemical industry identified the challenges chemical companies are preparing for as the EPA works out the details of the changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 that will take place under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.
Generating relevant scientific data
The big change for U.S. chemical companies is that substances have previously been innocent until proven guilty. It has been up to the government to identify risks and prove that they are unreasonable risks, considering both safety and economic factors. Now, while the EPA is still responsible for identifying risks, it will be easier for the agency to ask for data from chemical companies and manufacturers.
Businesses are concerned about the amount of testing they might have to undertake, and the amount of data they may have to provide. The EPA can’t just agree that they don’t see any unreasonable risk in the data the company provided. They have to make a definite determination that a substance is or is not reasonably safe. They can ask for more information if they don’t initially get enough data to make that decision.
Chemical companies are concerned that the new requirements will require additional laboratory services, additional chemical literature searches, and other extra work that will require additional time and increase costs. Chemical companies can ask the EPA to do all the risk assessment for them, but they will be expected to pay the full cost.
Managing confidential business information
Companies are also concerned about data-sharing. While the experience with REACH has shown that these kinds of worries can be overcome, the United States is just beginning to face security worries relating to chemical regulations.
There is also concern about companies’ reputations as more substances are identified as hazardous. Handling the public perception of information can be an important strategic issue.
It is expected that approval of requests not to divulge information because it’s confidential business information (CBI requests) will be less common going forward.
The TSCA Inventory Reset
The EPA believes that information on the amounts and locations of chemical substances may not be accurate. They re asking for an “Inventory Reset” — up to date information on stockpiles of substances.
Processors as well as manufacturers and importers may be affected by the reset. Companies all along the supply chain may need to notify the EPA of substances they keep in inventory. Cooperation and collaboration along supply chains will be essential for accuracy, since substances are likely to be moving along the supply chain as the notifications are made.
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