EPA Designates Chemicals as Inactive under TSCA

Posted on: May 24, 2019

by John J. Kowalski, CHMM

photo of beakers - Learn more about the EPA designating chemicals as inactive

On May 15, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) announced the availability of a signed action identifying chemical substances for inactive designation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The signed action is a companion to the first version of the TSCA Inventory on which all listings were designated as active or identified as inactive.

EPA regulations at 40 CFR 710.23 provide that the Agency’s designation of a chemical substance as inactive becomes effective 90 days after it identifies the chemical substance for such designation.  Subject to certain exceptions, once a chemical substance is designated as inactive, any person who intends to manufacture (including import) or process that substance must submit a Notice of Activity (NOA) Form B to EPA prior to such manufacturing or processing.  Agency regulations also allow an NOA Form B to be submitted during the 90-day transition period between EPA’s identification of a chemical substance for inactive designation and the effective date for such designation.

Important Dates Surrounding the Signed Action

The signed action initiates the 90-day period after which substances identified as inactive will be designated as inactive.  Because it was signed on May 6, 2019, inactive designations will become effective on August 5, 2019.  Accordingly, the obligation to submit an NOA Form B before manufacturing or processing an inactive substance will take effect on August 5, 2019.

The Agency had previously stated, during a webinar on March 13, 2019, that May 20, 2019 would be the date on which substances identified as inactive would be designated as inactive.  So, the practical effect of this action is to extend the effective date of inactive designations from May 20, 2019 until August 5, 2019.

To summarize, the 2016 amendments to TSCA established a forward-looking reporting requirement that goes into effect upon EPA’s designation of a chemical substance as inactive.  More specifically, anyone intending to manufacture or process a chemical substance that is designated as inactive, for a non-exempt commercial purpose, must notify the Agency before the inactive substance is manufactured or processed.  Upon receipt of a forward-looking notification, EPA must designate the substance as active.


Recommended Action Item

Companies should determine the Inventory status and activity designations of the chemicals that they handle and take action accordingly.


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Environmental Protection Agency.  “TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements; Availability of a Signed Action Identifying Chemical Substances for Inactive Designation.”  Federal Register 84 (15 May 2019): 21772-21773.


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