TSCA Section 6 Actions
Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act gives EPA the authority to protect against unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment from chemical substances. If EPA finds that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the chemical's manufacture, processing, distribution, use or disposal presents an unreasonable risk, EPA may by rule take action to:
- Prohibit or limit manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce;
- Prohibit or limit the manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce of the chemical substance above a specified concentration;
- Require adequate warnings and instructions with respect to use, distribution, or disposal;
- Require manufacturers or processors to make and retain records;
- Prohibit or regulate any manner of commercial use;
- Prohibit or regulate any manner of disposal; and/or
- Require manufacturers or processors to give notice of the unreasonable risk of injury, and to recall products if required.
TSCA section 6(a) indicates that EPA should apply the least burdensome means of adequately protecting against the unreasonable risk. In developing a rule under 6(a), TSCA section 6(c) directs EPA to consider and publish a statement with respect to:
- The effect of the chemical substance being regulated on health and the magnitude of exposure of humans to the substance.
- The effects of such substance on the environment and the magnitude of exposure of the environment to the substance.
- The benefits of such substance for various uses and the availability of substitutes for such uses.
- The reasonably ascertainable economic consequences of the rule, after consideration of the effect on the national economy, small business, technological innovation, the environment, and public health.
Some Section 6 actions have led to ongoing programs relating to chemical substances of national concern, such as asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Others – such as acrylamide – were withdrawn when the circumstances that led to the proposal of the rule changed, enabling the risk to be reduced without rulemaking.