Chemical Regulation: Observations on the Toxic Substances Control Act and EPA Implementation Page: 4 of 24
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that report, we also recommended that EPA improve and validate its
models for assessing and predicting the risks of chemicals and revise its
regulations to require chemical companies to reassert confidentiality
claims within a certain period.4 EPA implemented our 2005
recommendation to improve its models. EPA did not disagree with our
2005 recommendations regarding obtaining health and safety studies and
other information that companies submit to foreign governments and
requiring companies to reassert confidentiality claims, but it provided
substantive comments and has not fully implemented these
In 2009, EPA announced principles for reforming TSCA to help inform
efforts under way in Congress. These principles include goals for
reforming TSCA so that: (1) EPA would have clear authority to establish
safety standards that are based on scientific risk assessments; (2)
manufacturers' data on toxicity, exposure,5 and use for chemicals would
be required at sufficient levels so that EPA could support a determination
that a chemical meets the safety standard; (3) EPA would have clear
authority to take regulatory or other actions when chemicals do not meet
the safety standard, with the flexibility to take into account a range of
considerations, including children's health, economic costs, social
benefits, and equity concerns; (4) EPA would have authority to set
priorities for conducting safety reviews on existing chemicals based on
relevant risk and exposure considerations; and (5) EPA would receive a
sustained source of funding from manufacturers of chemicals to support
the costs of agency implementation, including the review of information
provided by manufacturers.
Along with the announcement of these principles in 2009, EPA initiated a
new approach to managing chemicals within the limits of existing
authorities that focuses largely on existing chemicals. According to
agency documents, EPA will transition from an approach dominated by
voluntary data submissions by industry to a more proactive approach in
which the agency will use its data collection and other rulemaking
4As described later in this testimony, TSCA contains provisions for governing the
disclosure of chemical data. Chemical companies can claim certain information, such as
data disclosing chemical processes, as confidential business information.
51n this testimony, exposure represents the magnitude, frequency, and duration of contact
with a chemical. Toxicity represents the degree to which a chemical is harmful. In this
testimony, the terms toxicity and hazard are used synonymously.
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Chemical Regulation: Observations on the Toxic Substances Control Act and EPA Implementation, text, June 13, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302542/m1/4/: accessed February 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.