Managing Existing Chemicals
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
More on Managing Existing Chemicals
- HPV Challenge Program
- HPVIS - Making HPV Available Online
- Inventory Update Reporting
- Chemical Nanoscale Materials
- Managing Potential PFOA Risks
- Potential Chemical Risks to Children
- Section 21 Petitions
- Using TSCA Section 8(e)
- TSCA Section 12(b) Export Notifications
- International Work
- OECD HPV Chemicals Program
One of the targets in “Goal Four” of EPA's Strategic Plan is to achieve a 26 percent cumulative reduction of chronic human health risk from environmental releases of industrial chemicals in commerce since 2001, as measured by EPA's "Risk Screening Environmental Indicators" model. The plan foresees this target being met by 2011.
Working under authorities and requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA's existing chemicals programs gather and review data, assess risk and regulate chemicals in commerce. For example, under TSCA, EPA can require companies (manufacturers, importers and processors) to conduct testing on selected chemicals for which data are needed to evaluate potential health or environmental hazards. Such data development requirements may be established through a test rule (regulation) or through an Enforceable Consent Agreement (ECA), which is negotiated among interested parties and generally provides an alternative to formal rulemaking.
TSCA gives EPA responsibility to maintain the TSCA Inventory containing more than 83,000 chemicals. As new chemicals are manufactured, they are placed on the list.
Under TSCA Section 5, EPA may promulgate a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), when it identifies a "significant new use" that could result in exposures to, or releases of, a substance of concern. Under SNURs, subject entities must give EPA a 90-day advance notice of their intent to manufacture, import, or process a chemical for a significant new use. The required notice provides EPA with the opportunity to evaluate intended new uses and associated activities and, if necessary, prohibit or limit those uses and activities before they occur.
Over the last several years, OPPT's work to ensure the safety of existing chemicals has focused on making basic hazard information available to the public on the approximately 2,200 High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals for which manufacturers and importers pledged to provide information. HPV chemicals are produced and/or imported in annual volumes of 1 million pounds or greater per year. The HPV Challenge Program has made chemical data and assessments accessible to the public to help industry and citizens make wise chemical choices.
This information has become the basis for a larger effort to evaluate and initiate risk management actions as appropriate on both high- and moderate-production volume chemicals -- a commitment OPPT made in 2007.
- EPA has broadened its efforts to ensure the safety of existing chemicals with the creation of the Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP) .
ChAMP is implementing commitments the United States made at the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) Leaders’ Summit, in Montebello, Canada, August 2007, which builds on EPA’s efforts under the High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program.
The new commitments include completing screening-level characterizations and taking action, as needed, by 2012 on high- and moderate-production volume (MPV) chemicals, which are those produced at quantities greater than or equal to 25,000 pounds per year -- an estimated 6,750* chemicals.
- In announcing ChAMP at the March 2008 "Global Chemical Regulation Conference," former Administrator Stephen L. Johnson stated in his keynote speech that EPA would engage stakeholders to discuss potential enhancements to ChAMP, including an HPV Challenge-type program for HPV inorganic chemicals, and “resetting” the TSCA inventory to update it to reflect the chemicals currently in use.
EPA held a series of ChAMP stakeholder meetings, including a public meeting May 2, 2008, to encourage input from stakeholders on meeting the SPP goals by 2012 and the potential program enhancements. EPA is evaluating the stakeholder input and plans to have recommendations for whether and how to proceed by the end of the summer 2008.
- By June 2008, EPA posted on its Web site hazard characterizations for 275 HPV chemicals. EPA began the effort in 2007 to give the public an objective evaluation of the quality and completeness of data gathered through the HPV Challenge Program.
In 2007, EPA also began creating screening-level exposure characterizations and risk characterizations to assemble data needed to produce initial risk-based prioritizations on HPV chemicals.
By June 2008, EPA posted initial risk-based prioritizations for 19 HPV chemicals to its Web site, and will continue to develop and post prioritizations for additional chemicals. The plan is for the ChAMP program to encompass initial prioritizations for potential actions, as needed, for both HPV and MPV chemicals.
- To reach goals under SPP, OPPT also began working with counterparts in Environment Canada and Health Canada to identify areas of mutual interest in existing chemicals assessment and management. This work will continue in 2008.
The chemical cooperation agreement under SPP calls for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to develop a regional partnership to work cooperatively on science-based risk assessment and risk management of chemicals in commerce.
- On October 9, 2007, EPA issued a final SNUR for 183 perfluoroalkyl sulfonate (PFAS) chemicals that were not included in prior perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS)-related SNURs.
Public comments on the 2006 proposed SNUR resulted in information about ongoing uses of some PFAS chemicals in the surface-finishing industry; therefore, the final SNUR contains exclusions for those uses.
- On October 5, 2007, EPA issued a final SNUR, based on a 2006 proposal, for elemental mercury used in convenience light switches, anti-lock braking system (ABS) switches, and active-ride-control-system switches in certain motor vehicles.
* Based on preliminary statistics from 2006 IUR data.