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November 8, 2021

EPA Denies TSCA Section 21 Petition Regarding Chemical Mixtures in Cigarettes

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its response to a petition submitted under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) seeking a rule requiring cigarette manufacturers to eliminate the hazardous chemicals used and to develop new product designs that eliminate or reduce the cigarette butt disposal risks to the environment. 86 Fed. Reg. 59931. EPA states that TSCA Section 6(a) authorizes it to determine if a chemical substance or mixture in manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce, use, disposal, or any combination of these activities presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. If EPA determines that there is unreasonable risk to health or the environment, then EPA must, by rule, issue regulations to the extent necessary so that the chemical substance no longer presents such risk. EPA notes that TSCA Section 3(2)(B), which defines “chemical substance,” excludes “tobacco or any tobacco product,” however. Under Section 201(rr) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), “tobacco product” means “any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product.” EPA states that it finds that the petitioner has not met its burden as defined in TSCA Sections 6(a) and 21(b)(1) “because cigarettes are not a product that can be regulated under TSCA section 6(a).”