Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA

Learn About the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

Please Note

On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which updates the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA will update its web pages to conform to the provisions of the statute, but until then some content may be out of date. Learn more about the new law, find summary information and read frequently asked questions.

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Legislative summary

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA has broad authority to issue regulations designed to gather health/safety and exposure information on, require testing of, and control exposure to chemical substances and mixtures. Drugs, cosmetics, foods, food additives, pesticides, and nuclear materials are exempt from TSCA. Learn more about TSCA.

TSCA gives EPA authority to take specific measures to assess chemical substances and mixtures, and protect against unreasonable risks to human health and the environment from existing chemicals. Specifically, TSCA directs EPA to:

  • Maintain the TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory, a list of over 70,000 existing chemicals in commerce. (Chemicals not already listed on the TSCA Inventory are considered "new chemicals" under TSCA and must go through a review process before they can be added to the Inventory and become "existing chemicals." Read information on new chemical substances.)
  • Require testing of chemical substances where necessary to evaluate potential human health or environmental hazards.
  • Regulate (including restricting or banning) the manufacture, importation, processing, distribution, use, and/or disposal of any chemical substance that presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment.
  • Coordinate certain actions on chemical substances under TSCA with actions taken under other federal laws, including those administered by other federal agencies as well as other laws administered by EPA. If risk on a chemical substance is already managed effectively under a different statute, regulation under TSCA generally is not used.

Regulatory History

The regulations implementing these authorities are found at 40 CFR Parts 700-799.

Relevant Sections of TSCA

Specific sections of TSCA grant authority for EPA to require risk management measures, provide for the coordination of activities under TSCA with other Federal agencies and with other laws administered by EPA, and give citizens the opportunity to petition for action.

TSCA Section 4 provides that EPA can issue rules to require companies to generate hazard and exposure information through specific tests or measurements on chemicals in certain circumstances.

TSCA Section 5(a) Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) can be used to require notice to EPA before either new or existing chemical substances and mixtures are used in new ways that might create concerns.

TSCA Section 5(b)(4) provides that EPA can compile and keep current a list of chemical substances that present or may present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment.

TSCA Section 6 provides for the regulation of hazardous existing chemical substances and mixtures.

TSCA Section 9 governs the relationship of TSCA to other Federal laws.

TSCA Section 12 outlines export notification requirements for any person who exports or intends to export a chemical substance or mixture subject to certain TSCA regulations.

TSCA Section 13 details import certification requirements that must be met before importing a chemical substance, mixture or article containing a chemical substance or mixture into the U.S.

TSCA Section 21 allows citizens to petition EPA to take specific regulatory actions on chemicals and mixtures under TSCA.

Additional resources