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TSCA – The Hidden Environmental Rule

(1) Comments | by Charles Parrish |

For the chemical manufacturing industry, requirements put down by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are not so hidden – but for many other industries who import chemicals, process or distribute chemicals, TSCA requirements may come as a bit of a surprise.  One reason is that TSCA, unlike other programs, is not implemented through any NC State agency – it’s purely a federal rule implemented and enforced by EPA.  And enforcement can be severe – with fines extending into the millions of dollars.


So, if you manufacture or import materials that can be considered “chemical substances”, you will have TSCA obligations.  Many NC companies import raw materials from overseas and if import quantities exceed specified amounts, TSCA may be triggered.  A TSCA regulated chemical substance is one that is NOT regulated by an agency other than EPA.  For example, food and drugs are regulated by FDA and therefore not by TSCA.  Tobacco and fire arms are regulated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Ect…


Our next question may be – Is the material already on the TSCA inventory?  Does it already exist in commerce here in the USA as evidenced by being on the TSCA inventory or is it a new.  The TSCA inventory is comprised of ~ 80,000 chemicals that are essentially in commerce in the USA.  For these “existing chemicals” the TSCA rules are typically not as burdensome as for those chemicals that are NOT on the TSCA inventory (new chemicals).  For the latter, a company may have to submit a “PMN” Pre Manufacture Notice, which brings along with it a whole set of potentially restrictive requirements.  For example, after a company submits the PMNs, EPA may designate specified Significant New Use Rules or SNURs (don’t you love the acronyms?).  Here is an example of a recent SNUR you can just sink your teeth into
 

SNUR 8/8/2012:  Requires companies to report 90 days in advance of all new uses of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic (LCPFAC) chemicals as part of carpets or to treat carpets, including the import of new carpet containing LCPFACs.
 
Wow.  Now that’s a mouthful.

But what about chemicals already on the inventory.  One of the TSCA programs is called CDR for Chemical Data Reporting.  If your company uses such a chemical in amounts greater than 25,000 lbs, you may have to submit a CDR on that chemical to EPA, roughly every 4 years.  It’s much like the existing program called TRI or Toxic Release Inventory.

I could go on and on.  It seems as though TSCA has something for everybody.  Chemical manufacturers are already very familiar with the reach of TSCA, but others who manufacture or import any substances used as raw materials for their products, may be pulled in as well.

Comments:

  1. {{this.author|e}}'s avatar
    Highgate Pest Control Expert
    | Permalink

    Do the TSCA obligations apply if a company purchases a large amount of pesticides for example?

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