TSCA is ‘4’ the Future
By Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
I am a strong believer that the future depends on what we do in the present. The 2016 Lautenberg Act amendments to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) set the stage for EPA’s work over the past four years to build a new regulatory program from the ground up, informed by the past and inspired by the future.
Under the Trump Administration, we have set up the processes, policies, and resources to review over 40,000 existing chemicals in the marketplace and any new chemicals that companies want to bring to market. We’ve taken the necessary time to do this in a way that increases transparency, produces high quality work using sound science, and ensures that Americans are protected from unreasonable risks. We’re learning from our experiences and adapting as we move forward; our goal is to transparently carry out a chemical safety program for our nation. We know our work will benefit public health and the environment, as well as facilitate innovation in the chemistry for years to come.
Other examples of how we’ve been working towards a safer, heathier future under TSCA include:
- Banning consumer sales of methylene chloride paint removers and safeguarding the public against discontinued asbestos products, to ensure consumers won’t have access to these dangerous products in the future.
- Increasing transparency in the new chemicals program, including a new chemicals status tracker where visitors can view monthly updates for any active new chemicals case, so the public can understand how we review and assess any potential risks from chemicals that may be available for sale in the future.
- In support of Administrator Wheeler’s directive, we’re working to reduce animal testing, including finalizing a strategy to promote the development and use of alternative test methods in the TSCA program, so our program uses advanced scientific techniques while minimizing future impacts on animals.
With these and many more important accomplishments under our belt, we intend to focus the second half of 2020 on:
- Finalizing the remaining nine risk existing chemical risk evaluations, so we know where to focus future risk management rulemaking efforts to reduce risks from these chemicals.
- Issuing final scope documents for the next 20 risk evaluations, so the public knows which uses our future risk evaluations of these chemicals will cover.
- Issuing restrictions on five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, to ensure future generations won’t have to deal with the consequences of these chemicals that build up and persist in the environment.
- Finalizing our proposal to strengthen lead regulations, to protect children from the health effects of lead exposure and help them achieve their full future potential.
- Gathering important, best available scientific evidence on the next 20 chemicals, and others on the 2014 TSCA work plan, so that when we begin work on a chemical, we have a complete set of information on exposure and hazards.
Looking back over the past few years and looking ahead to the future, I think it’s important to focus on our common goals. I know we’re all working on TSCA to protect public health and the planet – right now and for the future. What do you do TSCA “4”?
About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.
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