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EPA Proposes New Rules to Evaluate Existing Chemicals in Commerce (January 2017)

Under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amends the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be able to evaluate chemicals already in commerce.

EPA is proposing three different rules to help in assessing risky chemicals and what further actions need to be taken to ensure their use:

  1. The inventory rule requires manufacturers and importers to report the number of chemicals still being produced on EPA’s chemical inventory, which is comprised of over 85,000 compounds. This information will help EPA narrow the number of chemicals to be evaluated.
  2. The prioritization rule establishes the standards by which EPA will prioritize evaluation for certain chemicals. Chemicals labeled as high priority are subject to evaluation, whereas chemicals labeled as low priority are not.
  3. The risk evaluation rule establishes the criteria that EPA will use to evaluate the chemicals, including assessment of hazards and exposures. This rule also includes provisions for how the agency will seek public comments.

EPA must complete regulation development by June 22, 2017, and have at least 20 pending risk evaluations by 2019. If an unreasonable risk is identified, the agency must take action to eliminate the risk.

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