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Appendix I. - TSCA Existing Chemicals Program Overview

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

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Existing Chemicals Program gathers hazard and exposure data, screens for hazards/risks, identifies testing needs and establishes testing requirements. The Program also evaluates and develops strategies for preventing pollution and reducing the risks associated with chemicals currently in production or use in the U.S. OPPT's risk management and pollution prevention initiatives can be either regulatory or non-regulatory; all, however, are aimed at reducing or eliminating the likelihood of harm to health and the environment. The Chemical Testing Program is a major component of the Existing Chemicals Program.

Risk management activities in the Existing Chemicals Program are divided into RM1, RM2 and Post-RM2 stages. Risk Management 1 (RM1) is the first stage and is designed to screen and select chemicals that appear to be of greatest concern to human health and the environment and takes about 6 months; identification of additional testing needs is a possible RM1 outcome. Risk Management 2 (RM2) is the next step, and takes 12 to 24 months. At the RM2 stage of the process, chemicals identified in RM1 are investigated and analyzed, and options which may include identification of additional testing needs are framed for reducing or eliminating the risks those chemicals pose. Post-RM2, which can range between 3 months and 2 years, consists of the implementation of one or more of the risk reduction and/or testing options identified during RM2.

While the Existing Chemicals Program is located in the Chemical Control Division (CCD) of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), contributions to the Program come from all parts of OPPT. This collaborative approach allows pursuit of a wide array of cases. The Existing Chemicals Program currently draws most of its cases from about 15,000 non-polymeric chemicals produced or imported at more than 10,000 pounds per year. The remaining 55,000 of the 70,000 existing chemicals listed on the TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory are either produced or imported at less than 10,000 pounds per year, if at all, or are polymers, which because of their chemical properties, are not considered likely to present a significant risk of injury to health or the environment. Between 1993 and 1996, the Existing Chemicals Program has screened over 2000 chemicals in RM1.

There are many ways in which government, industry and other stakeholders can work together to meet the nation's environmental goals. In the past, EPA has relied heavily on regulation to accomplish these goals. We are now recognizing that more cooperative methods are often more efficient and effective. Although regulation under TSCA is still a viable tool and is used when necessary, the Existing Chemicals Program is increasingly turning to cooperative and voluntary methods as first approaches to reducing or eliminating the likelihood of harm to human health and the environment. For further information about OPPT's Existing Chemicals Program in general or the Chemical Testing Program specifically, interested persons should contact the TSCA Hotline at (202) 554-1404, TDD (202) 554-0557.    EPA's TSCA Hotline can also be reached at the following electronic mail (e-mail) address:

Email graphicsTSCA-Hotline@epa.gov

  schematic diagram of OPPT's TSCA Existing Chemicals Program (including the Chemical Testing Program) operations.

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