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April 21, 2016

Lynn L. Bergeson Presents “The New TSCA Regulatory Framework Post-TSCA Reform” At The 2016 Adhesive and Sealant Council Spring Conference

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On April 20, 2016, Lynn L. Bergeson presented on the regulatory framework created by reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) at the 2016 Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC) Spring Conference. Throughout the course of the presentation, “The New TSCA Regulatory Framework Post-TSCA Reform,” Ms. Bergeson discussed the future of chemical management under TSCA regardless of when action is taken to implement TSCA reform. The presentation covered TSCA’s core provisions and authorities; key concerns with TSCA; current TSCA and downstream users; TSCA reform legislation and implications for downstream users; and challenges for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stakeholders, and Congress.  TSCA has been unable to meet legal requirements to compel testing and impose restrictions on existing chemicals over the years. While this is one of TSCA’s major failings, Significant New Use Rules (SNUR) have been used creatively as an alternative to control existing chemicals. Recent efforts to include imported articles within the scope of SNURs are controversial. EPA’s regulation of new chemicals is generally recognized as a success, despite the increased use of SNURs creating new regulatory requirements for manufacturers and customers, including downstream users.  EPA has encountered mixed success implementing information collection requirements with chemical-specific reporting rules proving cumbersome. 

There are two TSCA reform bills that are currently being discussed, House Bill H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, and Senate Bill S. 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The House bill somewhat broadens EPA’s testing authority but is silent on prioritization except for persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs). The Senate bill significantly increases testing authority, requires development and implementation of risk-based prioritization process, requires SNUR action on all regulated new chemicals unless EPA “explains why not.”