The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) addresses the manufacturing, processing, distribution, use, and disposal of commercial and industrial chemicals.
With continued scrutiny over chemicals and their hazards that are under the jurisdiction of TSCA, recently newer chemical substances have been added to the exposure risk list.
PFAS are synthetic chemical substances with special properties and hundreds of manufacturing and industrial applications. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acid (PFCA), a subset of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), that does not occur naturally in the environment.
EPA has investigated PFOA because it:
- Is very persistent in the environment
- Is found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population
- Remains in people for a very long time
- Causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals
When did PFAS become regulated?
The EPA’s regulation of PFAS through the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act) began in 2009, when the EPA released provisional health advisories for PFOS and PFOA.
EPA has taken a range of regulatory actions to address PFAS substances in manufacturing and consumer products.
More recently, in March 2022, EPA provided information to manufacturers (including importers), processors, distributors, users, and those that dispose of fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers and similar plastics (i.e., fluorinated polyolefins) about the potential for PFAS to form and migrate from these items. EPA was made aware of and determined via testing in March 2021 that certain PFAS have formed and migrated from these items.
EPA issued an open letter to:
- raise awareness to industry of this issue in order to help prevent unintended PFAS formation and contamination.
- outline the requirement under TSCA as it relates to PFAS and fluorinated polyolefins. These efforts are in line with EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, which includes steps to further the science and research to restrict these dangerous chemicals from impacting human health and the environment.
History of TSCA – 15 U.S.C. §2601 et seq. (1976)
The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides EPA with authority to require reporting, recordkeeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.
- The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) establishes pollution prevention as the national policy for controlling industrial pollution at its source.
- The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates the transport of hazardous materials.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are regulated under TSCA Section 6(e) and related regulations found at 40 CFR Part 761. In 1979, PCBs were banned from manufacture in the United States. However, some products and equipment that used PCBs were allowed to continue to use them, such as electrical transformers, coatings, and pigments. Compliance activities monitor:
- manufacture (including import), processing, distribution in commerce and use of PCBs
- storage or disposal of waste PCBs and PCB items (e.g., articles, containers, equipment), including the proper management of PCBs through prescribed or approved handling, marking, and storage and disposal methods; and clean-up of PCB spills
Where Can I Find Asbestos?
Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.
Asbestos may be found in:
- Attic and wall insulation produced containing vermiculite
- Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
- Roofing and siding shingles
- Textured paint and patching compounds used on walls and ceilings
- Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
- Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
- Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
- Heat-resistant fabrics
- Automobile clutches and brakes
Lead-based Paint Program
EPA monitors compliance with three major Lead-based Paint Program regulations under TSCA Subchapter IV and Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (enacted as Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992).
The Lead-based Paint Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule promulgated under Section 1018 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 requires sellers and lessors of pre-1978 housing to provide purchasers and lessees with a lead hazard information pamphlet and any lead hazard evaluation reports available to the seller or lessor. Receipt must be acknowledged. The Department of Housing and Urban Development shares compliance responsibilities with EPA for the Lead Disclosure Rule .
The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act added TSCA Subchapter VI to reduce emissions of formaldehyde from composite wood products by establishing formaldehyde emissions limits for domestic or imported hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured in the United States, whether in the form of an unfinished panel or incorporated into a finished good.
EPA is in the process of developing regulations which include a third-party certification (TPC) component and implement statutory emission standards.
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