On June 22, 2016, "The Frank R. Lautenberg - Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act," H.R. 2576, was signed by President Barack Obama. Effective the same day, the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) includes a new safety standard, extensive changes to existing chemicals management, and an aggressive implementation schedule. Amended TSCA also has an immediate impact on companies that have new chemical submissions pending before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On June 30, 2016, EPA held its first webinar to lay out the Agency's plans to implement the new TSCA. EPA explained that it has decided to interpret the new law as resetting the 90-day review period clock for TSCA section 5 premanufacture notice (PMN) reviews pending before the Agency as of the date of enactment. The Agency further indicated that it would try to complete PMN reviews and make the newly-required determinations within the original review period deadlines, but that a timely notice review is not guaranteed. It is significant to note, however, that as soon as EPA makes its determination under the new TSCA that a PMN substance is not likely to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, the PMN submitter can immediately commence non-exempt manufacture or import, even if the Agency's determination is made before the expiration of the 90-day review period.

The Agency also made the following additional announcements:

  • Pursuant to its authority under section 26, EPA intends to issue section 6 rules for trichloroethylene (TCE) in spot cleaning, aerosol degreasing, and vapor degreasing applications and methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone in paint removers, consistent with risk assessments EPA has already completed for those uses.
  • The Agency anticipates proposing rules on the section 6 prioritization procedure and fees it will assess under TSCA by mid-December for finalization by June 2017.
  • EPA plans to identify and commence risk evaluations on the initial set of 10 Work Plan chemicals by mid-December, for release of the scoping documents by mid-June 2017.
  • Companies have until September 22, 2016 to request risk evaluations of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals, otherwise, EPA plans to proceed with rulemakings to reduce exposure to the extent practicable.

EPA is posting information on this and other Agency implementation efforts on its new TSCA reform webpage, https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act.