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EPA and OSHA Sign Agreement Supporting Coordination on Chemical Reviews and Advancing Worker Safety

01/12/2021
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (January 12, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that advances collaboration and communication on EPA’s review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This MOU provides a framework for coordination and communication between the two agencies on exposure to new chemicals in the workplace and will help achieve the agencies’ shared goal of ensuring workers are protected from potential health and environmental risks.

“Ensuring the safety of workers is one of our top priorities as we review the health and environmental risks associated with new chemicals before they can enter the market,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “We are pleased to partner with OSHA to further advance our commitment to implementing TSCA in a way that is transparent, protects public health, and helps our economy to grow.”

“This MOU will further our shared goals of worker protection and chemical hazard awareness for workers and employers,” stated Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.

As required by TSCA, EPA and OSHA have been collaborating on workplace exposures as part of EPA’s review of new chemicals. This MOU formalizes coordination efforts that EPA and OSHA have already implemented and provides a framework for additional opportunities for collaboration.

Highlights of the MOU include:

  • Establishing designated staff and management points of contact from each agency to discuss and resolve workplace exposure issues related to EPA’s review of new chemicals.
  • Providing OSHA with regular updates on EPA’s new chemical determinations, including any necessary worker protection identified during EPA’s review.
  • Documenting EPA’s role in identifying and notifying OSHA of the need for formal consultation on EPA’s review of new chemicals.

The MOU builds on several improvements made over the past four years to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of the agency’s new chemicals program. Over the past year, EPA has taken unprecedented steps to meet the agency’s legal requirements while increasing the amount of information made publicly available on new chemicals.

To view the MOU, visit: https://www.epa.gov/reviewing-new-chemicals-under-toxic-substances-control-act-tsca/memorandum-understanding-between-epa .

To learn more about EPA’s review of new chemicals, visit: https://www.epa.gov/reviewing-new-chemicals-under-toxic-substances-control-act-tsca .

To learn more about OSHA, visit: https://www.osha.gov/ .

Background

Under TSCA, the primary chemicals management law in the United States, EPA reviews new chemicals for unreasonable risk to public health or the environment before they can be brought to market. The Lautenberg Act amendments to TSCA added new requirements for EPA to work with OSHA on issues regarding workplace exposures to new chemicals. EPA has since implemented regular coordination with OSHA and has collaborated on workplace exposures generally, discussing and implementing procedures for regular reporting to OSHA on workplace exposure issues, and handling of confidential business information.