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EPA Names The First Ten Chemicals To Be Evaluated Under The Revised TSCA Law Amidst Concerns Over The Agency’s Future

On November 29th, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named the first chemicals that are going to be reviewed for safe use under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) legislation. The list includes 1,4-dioxane, 1-bromopropane, asbestos, carbon tetrachloride, cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster, methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone, pigment violet 29, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene. These ten substances were selected from the EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan; this list consisted of 90 chemicals understood to have a high hazard potential. The EPA now has six months to issue a scoping document for each chemical that will include hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and potentially exposed or susceptible populations that the agency will consider during its risk evaluation of the chemical (which the EPA is obligated to complete within three years).

These developments are newsworthy on their own, but the December 7th announcement by US President-elect Donald Trump that he has chosen Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to run the EPA adds an in an extra twist. Pruitt has been a career-long opponent of the EPA, arguing that the agency has continually infringed upon states’ rights, most recently via President Obama’s climate change policies which seek to limit emissions from fossil fuel plants. The reaction from inside the political arena has been what one would expect – Democrats believe the selection marks a tragedy for America’s air and water, while republicans believe this is a major victory for America’s energy jobs and state authority.

Will this appointment slow down TSCA’s momentum? Probably not. TSCA saw strong bipartisan support in congress, and Oklahoma Senator, Republican Jim Inhofe, who also happens to be the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, is confident that Trump will not hinder the implementation timelines of the new law. This is good news for providers of product stewardship software and services, as new TSCA stipulations should mean a small bump in business for software firms such as 3E, ChemADVISOR, and SiteHawk (see Verdantix Smart Innovators: Product Stewardship Solutions) and services firms with a focus on product stewardship such as ERM (see Verdantix Green Quadrant Environmental Services (US) 2016) as corporates try to clear up any confusion and ensure compliance. For broader EH&S management, this reaffirmation serves as a message that, even under a Trump administration, the regulatory burden of new chemicals regulations will continue its upward trajectory.