U.S. EPA Releases Chemicals Prioritization Document

Posted on: October 31, 2018

Prioritizationby John J. Kowalski, CHMM

Under Section 6(b) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – as amended – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or ‘the Agency’) is required “to establish procedures for prioritizing and evaluating risks from existing chemical substances.”  To that end, EPA published a final rule on July 20, 2017.

This final rule, which is codified at 40 CFR Part 702, Subpart A, established the process and criteria that the Agency will use to identify chemical substances as either High-Priority Substances for risk evaluation or Low-Priority Substances for which risk evaluations are not warranted at the time. It also describes the processes for:

  • Formally initiating the prioritization process on a selected candidate;
  • Providing opportunities for public comment;
  • Screening the candidate against certain criteria; and
  • Proposing and finalizing designations of priority.

Chemicals Prioritization Document

On October 5, 2018, EPA published a notice announcing the availability of a document entitled, “A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization.”  This document, which is available here, “describes the near-term approach that EPA anticipates using to inform the identification of potential candidates for the initial 20 High-Priority and 20 Low-Priority chemical substances that must be identified pursuant to TSCA Section 6(b)(2)(B).” It also presents a longer-term approach that the Agency “is considering to “bin” chemicals on the TSCA active inventory.”

EPA is seeking public comment on these approaches as well as information on chemicals that should be considered for prioritization.

Next Steps

  • Review the Working Approach document;
  • Consider submitting comments on the proposed approaches or information on specific chemical substances; and,
  • Continue to watch this space for information regarding new developments under TSCA.

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Useful Information

EPA Document “A Working Approach for Identifying Potential Candidate Chemicals for Prioritization; Notice of Availability.”


United States, EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, TSCA, Existing Chemicals, Prioritization


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