TSCA Highlights from 2018 and Upcoming Deadlines for 2019
Key TSCA developments we saw in 2018 included the following:
- US EPA's Strategic Plan provided a high level overview of how alternative test methods could be incorporated under TSCA (published as draft in March, finalized in June).
- Us EPA's plans for conducting systematic reviews for assessing chemical risks considered ways to score data quality and increase transparency in decision making. One controversial topic was the extent to which mechanistic toxicity data should affect the interpretation of standard test results (published May 2018).
- US EPA's problem formulation approach for conducting risk evaluations for the first 10 high priority chemicals focused the conditions of use being evaluated more narrowly than originally expected, and the refinement provoked some controversy (published June, 2018 with over 50,000 comments on the related docket).
- The final TSCA fees rule dictates the costs to companies for various TSCA activities. The rule provides substantial cost savings to small businesses (defined as companies having 200 to 1,500 employees, depending on business category) (September 2018).
- A "working approach" for prioritizing future chemicals established a screening process for nominating chemicals and highlighted that US EPA will need to initially prioritize chemicals with sufficient data to evaluate risk (September 2018).
- By January 14, 2019, public comments are due on US EPA's draft risk evaluation of Pigment Violet 29, the first high priority chemical. Because this is the first chemical evaluated, US EPA is likely to get substantial comments about the evaluation process in general.
- Risk evaluations for the remaining 9 of the "first 10" chemicals have to be completed by December 2019, which means drafts for individual chemicals will be released earlier in the year.
- In June 2019, US EPA will release its rule for addressing Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals for public comment.
- By December 22, 2019, US EPA must have designated at least 20 chemical substances as High-Priority and 20 chemical substances as Low-Priority. High-priority chemicals, once designated, go straight into a full risk evaluation. We expect proposals for prioritization of these substances to be published earlier in the year (likely by March 2019).