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S. 3149 (94th): Toxic Substances Control Act

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a United States law, passed by the United States Congress in 1976 and administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, that regulates the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. When the TSCA was put into place, all existing chemicals were considered to be safe for use and subsequently grandfathered in. Its three main objectives are to assess and regulate new commercial chemicals before they enter the market, to regulate chemicals already existing in 1976 that posed an "unreasonable risk to health or to the environment", as for example PCB's, lead, mercury and radon, and to regulate these chemicals' distribution and use.

Contrary to what the name implies, TSCA does not separate chemicals into categories of toxic and non-toxic. Rather it prohibits the manufacture or importation of chemicals that are not on the TSCA Inventory or subject to one of many exemptions. Chemicals listed on the TSCA inventory are referred to as "existing chemicals", while chemicals not listed are referred to as new chemicals. The TSCA defines the term "chemical substance" as "any organic or inorganic substance of a particular molecular identity, including any combination of these substances occurring in whole or in part as a result of a chemical reaction or occurring in nature, and any element or uncombined radical". Generally, manufacturers must submit premanufacturing notification to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to manufacturing or importing new chemicals for commerce. Exceptions include foods, food additives, drugs, cosmetics or devices regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, pesticides regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, tobacco and tobacco products regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, substances used only in small quantities for research and development under Section 5(h)(3), and radioactive materials and wastes regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The EPA reviews new chemical notifications and if it finds an "unreasonable risk to human health or the environment," it may regulate the substance from limiting uses or production volume to outright banning it. In 2013, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was proposed as the first major overhaul in many years.

This summary is from Wikipedia.

Last updated Oct 11, 2018. Source: Wikipedia

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Sep 24, 1976.

(Conference report filed in Senate, S. Rept. 94-1302) Toxic Substances Control Act - Provides that if the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency finds that testing of a chemical substance in accordance with a test protocol for such substance is necessary to protect against unreasonable risk to health or the environment, he may by rule require that testing be conducted on such substance to develop data with respect to the health and environmental effects for which there is an insufficiency of data. States that a rule requiring the testing of a chemical substance or mixture must include: (1) identification of the substance or mixture for which testing is required; and (2) standards for the development of test data for such substance. Requires persons intending to manufacture or process the substance to perform the necessary tests. Authorizes the Administrator to exempt chemicals and mixtures from the testing requirement if he determines that data has been or is being developed for substantially the same compound. Directs the Administrator upon receipt of the test results to promptly publish in the Federal Register the test data, the intended uses of the substances, and the nature of the tests. Establishes a committee to recommend to the Administrator the chemical substances and mixtures to which the Administrator should give priority consideration for testing. States that the committee shall give priority attention to chemical substances known or suspected of causing or contributing to cancer, gene mutations, and birth defects. Sets forth the membership of the committee. Specifies that upon the receipt of any test data which indicates that a chemical substance or mixture has the potential to induce in human beings cancer, gene mutations, or birth defects, the Administrator shall take action within 180 days to limit human exposure. Requires manufacturers to give a 90-day notice to the Administrator of their intent to manufacture a new chemical substance, and to submit data developed in accordance with the requirements of this Act where the Administrator has determined that the use of such chemical substance will be a "significant new use." Exempts from this requirement persons who satisfactorily demonstrate that the proposed substance or activity will not cause an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment. Requires the Administrator to issue a proposed rule or an order prior to the expiration of the notification period where the Administrator has found that the manufacture or use of a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Authorizes exemptions from the testing requirement if the Administrator determines that the manufacture and distribution of such substance would not present an unreasonable risk to health or the environment under the particular circumstance or under appropriate restrictions. Authorizes the Administrator, upon a finding that a chemical substance is dangerous or potentially dangerous, to prescribe rules using the least burdensome requirements to: (1) prohibit the manufacture or distribution of a substance or limit the amount which may be produced or distributed; (2) prohibit particular use or uses of such a substance; and (3) require an adequate warning with regard to the use or disposal of the substance. Provides the Administrator with criteria for formulating such rules. Authorizes the Administrator to order a manufacturer or processor to revise his quality control procedures if the Administrator determines that such manufacturer or processor is manufacturing or processing a chemical substance in a manner which causes it to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Makes it unlawful, effective one year after the date of enactment of this Act, to manufacture, process, distribute in commerce, or use any polychlorinated biphenyl in any manner other than in a totally enclosed environment. Makes it unlawful, effective two years after the date of enactment of this Act, to manufacture such items; and unlawful 2 1/2 years after such date to process or distribute in commerce such item. Permits the Administrator to make exceptions to such restrictions where he determines that no unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment is presented. Directs the Administrator to promulgate, within six months, rules prescribing methods for the disposal of such item. Authorizes the Administrator to file an action in a United States district court: (1) for seizure of an imminently hazardous chemical substance or mixture or any article containing such a substance or mixture; (2) for relief against any person who manufactures, processes, or distributes such substance, mixture, or article; or (3) for both seizure and relief. Authorizes the Administrator, by rule, to require reports from all manufacturers and processors of chemical substances where appropriate to ascertain the chemical identity, quantity, and uses of substances produced. Requires the Administrator to compile and publish a list of each chemical substance which is manufactured or processed in the United States. Directs any person who manufactures, processes, or distributes in commerce any chemical substance or mixture to maintain records of significant adverse reactions to health or the environment. Authorizes the Administrator to require manufacturers, processors, or distributors to submit lists of health and safety studies with respect to chemical substances or mixtures which they intend to introduce into commerce. Requires any person who manufactures, processes, or distributes in commerce a chemical substance or mixture and who obtains information which reasonably supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture presents an unreasonable risk to health or the environment to immediately inform the Administrator of such risk unless such person has actual knowledge that the Administrator has been adequately informed of such risk. Requires the Administrator to coordinate actions taken under this Act with actions taken under other Federal laws administered in whole or in part by the Administrator. Directs the Administrator to conduct such research, development, and monitoring as is necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. Authorizes the establishment of an interagency committee whose primary responsibility shall be to design an efficient system within the Environmental Protection Agency for the collection of data. Directs the Administrator to coordinate, with the Assistant Secretary for Health, a program for the development of rapid, reliable, and economical screening techniques for carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and ecological effects of chemical substances and mixtures. Provides for research programs aimed at the development of monitoring techniques for the detection of toxic chemical substances. Requires the Administrator to establish a system of exchange among Federal, State, and local authorities of research results with respect to toxic chemical substances. Authorizes the Administrator to inspect, after written notice, premises in which chemical substances or mixtures are manufactured, processed, or stored to determine whether the requirements of this Act have been complied with. Provides that this Act shall not apply to any chemical substances which are to be used solely for export from the United States. Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit the entry into the customs territory of the United States of material or article containing a chemical substance or mixture if: (1) it fails to comply with any rule in effect under this Act; or (2) it is otherwise prohibited pursuant to this Act from being distributed in commerce. Permits disclosure of data received by the Administrator pursuant to this Act under limited circumstances, and prescribes criminal penalties for wrongful disclosure. Enumerates civil and criminal penalties for violations of the provisions of this Act, and grants jurisdiction to Federal district courts to specifically enforce such provisions. Provides that no State or political subdivision may establish similar requirements for the testing of a substance or mixture after the Administrator has issued a rule. Provides for judicial review in the courts of appeals of the United States for specified rules promulgated under this Act. Authorizes any person to commence a civil action in specified district courts against any person including the United States alleged to be in violation of this Act. Prescribes procedures for any person to petition the Administrator to issue a rule for testing standards or regulation of hazardous substances. Requires the Administrator to waive compliance with the provisions of this Act upon a statement by the President that such waiver is necessary in the interest of national defense. Prohibits any employer from discharging any employee for taking any action pursuant to this Act. Requires that the Administrator evaluate on a continuing basis the potential effects on employment of the requirements of this Act or the issuance of a rule or order pursuant to this Act. Directs the Administrator to conduct a study of all Federal laws administered by the Administrator for the purpose of determining whether and under what conditions, if any, indemnification should be afforded any person as a result of any action taken by the Administrator under any such law. Authorizes the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to make grants to public and nonprofit private entities and to enter into contracts for the development and evaluation of methods of determining the health and environmental effects of chemical substances and mixtures. Authorizes the Administrator to make grants to States for the establishment and operation of programs to prevent or eliminate unreasonable risks within the States to health or the environment which are associated with a chemical substance. Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 1977, 1978, and 1979 to carry out the purposes of this Act. Requires the Administrator to prepare and submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on the administration of this Act.