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EPA On Path to Eliminate Backlog of New Chemicals Awaiting EPA Approval

All new chemicals coming to market receive affirmative safety determination

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has split by half the backlog of new chemical submissions being reviewed under the Toxic Substances Control Act, bringing the number of cases down from roughly 300 to 150 with plans to fully eliminate the backlog by the end of July. The agency will provide weekly web updates on the status of the backlog and the chemicals’ review status to increase transparency for the public and the regulated community.

“We are committed to working with companies to gather all the relevant information early in the process, to inform safety reviews for new chemicals.  Reviewing new chemicals quickly will enable those deemed safe to enter the marketplace to support jobs and our economy,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The reduction in the backlog is the result of prioritizing and implementing process efficiencies. For instance, grouping the review of similar chemicals speeds the review.  EPA will continue to work with all stakeholders to identify additional changes to improve the quality, efficiency and transparency of the new chemical review program.

On June 22, 2016, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amended how requests for new chemicals (called pre-manufacture notices or PMNs) would be reviewed by EPA, requiring that EPA make an “affirmative finding” on whether a new chemical presents an unreasonable risk and addressing that unreasonable risk before allowing it to be commercialized.  EPA reviews about 1,000 new chemicals per year, and must complete the review of each submission within a specified timeframe, resulting in about 300 chemicals under review at any given time. By January 2017, the number under review had grown to about 600. EPA is working hard to get the number of submissions under review back to the baseline.

View progress on new chemical reviews: