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Managing Existing Chemicals

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

picture of beakers filled with chemicals
More on Managing Existing Chemicals
Strategic Plan

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.


For related information, visit Existing Chemicals, Chemical Testing & Data Collection, and the HPV Challenge Program.

* Based on preliminary statistics from 2006 IUR data.

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