The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is currently evaluating its policies and regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to ensure workers are safe when using new chemicals.
EPA identified several instances where the agency could align its approach more with statutory requirements and Biden administration executive orders for making determinations and managing risks associated with new chemicals.
Going forward, the agency “intends to ensure necessary protections for workers identified in its review of new chemicals through regulatory means,” according to a March 29 news release.
This means situations where the agency identifies a potential unreasonable risk to workers that could be addressed with PPE and hazard communication, it will no longer assume workers are adequately protected by OSHA standards and updated Safety Data Sheets.
Instead, the absence of worker safeguards will be viewed as “reasonably foreseen” and the agency will “mandate necessary protections through a TSCA section 5(e) order, as appropriate.”
Further, the agency will stop issuing determinations of “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” based on proposed significant new use rules (SNURs).
The EPA will now issue an order to address potential risks if review of a new chemical leads to a conclusion that one or more uses may present an unreasonable risk, or in cases where the agency lacks information to make a safety finding.