2014 TSCA Work Plan Assessment Update—How It Works
In the beginning, back in 2012, the EPA first used several sources to identify chemicals meeting prioritization factor criteria as potential candidates for review, a process that initially identified 1,235 chemicals. Next, the chemicals were screened to determine if any chemicals should be excluded due to other factors, including:
- Not being subject to TSCA or already regulated under TSCA,
- Complex process streams, or
- Natural occurrence or other factors.
That screening left 345 chemicals on the list of potential candidates. These chemicals were then screened again and scored according to three characteristics: hazard, exposure (including exposure during use), and potential for persistence and bioaccumulation. The scoring specifically focused on those chemicals that met one or more of the following requirements:
- Potential concern for children’s health (for example, because of reproductive or developmental effects),
- Neurotoxic effects,
- Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic,
- Probable or known carcinogens,
- Used in children’s products or in products to which children may be highly exposed, or
- Detected in biomonitoring programs.
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After this step, a list of 83 chemicals were identified for assessment based on their potential to cause human or environmental harm.
In the 2014 update to the TSCA Work Plan, the EPA is using more recent chemical information submitted in 2012 under the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Rule, as well as 2011 data reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Using this information, the 345 chemicals identified in 2012 were rescreened. In addition, the EPA screened “Action Plan” chemicals that were not included in the 2012 assessments, as well as two chemical flame retardants identified by the EPA during its development of a flame-retardant strategy.
According to the EPA, Action Plan chemical identification is “the most important component” of the enhanced chemical management program and serves as an expedited process for:
- Identifying chemicals that pose a concern to the public,
- Moving quickly to evaluate them and determine what actions need to be taken to address the risks they may pose, and
- Initiating appropriate action.
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To determine whether a chemical requires development of an Action Plan, the EPA uses the hazard, use, and exposure information available to determine applicability with multiple factors, including chemicals:
- Identified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic;
- In high-production volume;
- In consumer products;
- Potentially of concern for children’s health because of reproductive or developmental effects;
- Subject to review and potential action in international forums;
- Found in human biomonitoring programs; and
- In categories generally identified as being of potential concern in the new chemicals program.
Following these assessments, the EPA has removed 15 of the original chemicals in the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, consolidated 1 chemical, and added 23 chemicals to the 2014 update to the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments. Among these are 5 Action Plan chemicals or groups that were added. Another 5 Action Plan Chemicals were not added for different reasons, such as their use was discontinued or they did not meet necessary parameters defined above. The TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments: 2014 Update contains 90 chemicals.