- The U.S. EPA also tracks the thousands of new chemicals that industry develops each year with either unknown or dangerous characteristics. TSCA supplements other Federal statutes, including the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) .
TSCA applies to organizations that involve the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use, and/or disposal of a new or existing chemical substance or mixture that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The reporting threshold was raised in 2002 from 10,000 lbs (4,500 kg ) to 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) per year. Most businesses that meet the 40 CFR 704.3 definition for small manufacturer or importer are exempt from reporting requirements. A business meets that criterion when total annual sales are less than $40 million and the manufacturing or import volume is less than 100,000 pounds (45,360 kg) at all sites.
By definition, TSCA-regulated chemical substances and mixture do not include ". any source material, special nuclear material, or byproduct material (as such terms are defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and regulations issued under such Act). " [TSCA, Section 3(2)(B)(iv)]. Although TSCA excludes nuclear material, the TSCA-regulated portion of a mixed nuclear and regulated waste must comply with TSCA requirements. Materials that are not chemical substances or mixtures are not subject to the requirements of TSCA.
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- Any substance that is not on the Inventory is classified as a new chemical. If a substance is "new", it can be manufactured for a commercial purpose only if it is subject to an exemption from PMN (P rem anufacture N otice) reporting or a TSCA reporting exclusion. For substances which are "existing", the Inventory can be used to determine if there are restrictions on manufacture or use. See Further Reading below for more information.
TSCA and its updates specifically address certain high-profile chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's). asbestos, lead and radon.
A TSCA report for 25,000 lbs or more includes:
- The number of workers reasonably likely to be exposed to the chemical substance at the site of manufacture or import
- The physical form(s) of the chemical substance as it leaves the submitter's possession, along with the associated percent production volume
- The maximum concentration of the chemical substance as it leaves the submitter's posession.
For substances with annual volumes of 300,000 lbs (136,000 kg) or more per site, significant additional information is also reported.
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Under the Inventory Update Rule (IUR) the TSCA inventory
is updated every 5 years. Prior to 2006, the update period was 4 years. Some new changes included in the 2002 update were:
- Increased the reporting threshold from 10,000 to 25,000 pounds.
- Require companies to include data on inorganic chemicals .
- Include the number of workers likely exposed a chemical in its manufacture.
- List the uses of each substance.
- Require businesses to present "up-front substantiation" to claim a chemical identity as proprietary information that must be held in confidence by the EPA.
- Certain natural gas streams are exempted from all reporting. Other groups of chemicals, including most petroleum streams and certain chemicals that are of low current interest, are now partially exempt from reporting and are not required to report processing and use information.
The idea of the higher reporting limit is to reduce the additional burden associated with covering more chemicals. As one might expect, both chemical manufacturers and community/environmental groups like some of these changes more than others!
In September of 2009, the Obama administration unveiled broad proposals to reform TSCA and give the EPA the ability to ban or restrict unsafe chemicals. Supporting legistlation was announced by US Senators Frank Lautenberg (Democrat, NJ) and James Jeffords (Independent-VT) in 2010, but after a number of hearings and stakeholer sessions, the bill died amidst industry opposition. The EPA did announce its intention to reject a certain type of confidentiality claim. known as Confidential Business Information (CBI), on the identity of chemicals, but this minor change does nothing to take unsafe chemicals off the market.
- "Complying with TSCA Inventory Requirements: A Guide with Step-by-Step Processes for Chemical Manufacturers, Processors, and Importers", Hardcover, 2002. Estimated price $130.00. Info and/or order .
- "The TSCA Compliance Handbook (Environmental Compliance Handbook Series)", Paperback, 368 pages, 1996. Estimated price $160.00. Info and/or order .
- "The Complete Guide to Hazardous Waste Regulations: RCRA, TSCA, HTMA, EPCRA, and Superfund, 3rd Edition", hardcover, 560 pages, 1999. Estimated price $165.00. Info and/or order .
- "Complying with TSCA Inventory Requirements", Paperback, 305 pages, 2008. Estimated price $83.91. Info and/or order .
- "TSCA Handbook", Paperback, 464 pages, 2005. Estimated price $138.00. Info and/or order .
Some MSDS's may contain code letters that are used in the TSCA Inventory to identify substances that are the subject of an EPA rule or order promulgated under TSCA, or to indicate the a full or partial exemption from TSCA reporting requirements. These codes are not required to be on an MSDS. In our opinion, these codes are completely useless to the end user - why give a cryptic code instead of simply writing out what the code stands for?