August 11 U.S. EPA published new TSCA rule to the Federal Register, often referred to as “TSCA Reset”. Companies have 180 days to comply, Feb 7, 2018.
At the center of TSCA (Toxic Substance Control Act) is the list of chemicals that are allowed to be manufactured or imported into the U.S. Each time a manufacturer or importer wants to introduce a new chemical (not already on the list), they must submit basic information and receive EPA approval. Over time the list has grown to over 70,000 chemicals, but many of the chemicals on the list have become inactive and are no longer manufactured/imported. EPA is “resetting” the list by requiring that all chemical manufacturers and importers submit information on the chemicals they manufacture or import. Specifically, companies must report what chemicals on the TSCA list they are manufacturing/importing, but are not already marked as “Active”.
The first step in the process is creating an inventory of chemicals that are manufactured or imported. There are nuances and special rules in the reset. For example, there is a special rule on polymers, so that only one “chemical” is filed, not every polymer it could make. Additionally, companies may import some chemicals directly. A company is an importer if it directly purchases/imports chemicals/raw materials from a foreign supplier. If the company purchases foreign-manufactured chemicals from a U.S. chemical distributor, then the distributor is the importer. Even if a company purchases from a U.S. distributor that imports, the distributor should be contacted to confirm that the distributor is filing information to EPA for all of the chemicals the company uses.