American Chemistry Council president Cal Dooley tells Bloomberg the number of manufacturer requests to the EPA to make new chemicals has doubled from 331 to 658, and the backlog is caused by an amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Last year Congress updated the 40-year-old law, requiring new testing and regulation of thousands of chemicals used in everything from cleaning products to paint thinners and clothing. Unlike the old TSCA, the amendment requires the EPA to test all existing and new chemicals to determine if they pose a threat to human health or the environment. It also gives the agency authority to request additional toxicity data from manufacturers.
Only 33 new chemicals have been allowed to enter commerce since the law was amended, Dooley said, adding: “This is stunning for a program that has historically reviewed about 1,000 substances annually.”
Manufacturers say the changes to the TSCA are stifling innovation because the EPA now takes so long to review chemicals.
“This is serious for industry as we rapidly need to bring new innovative systems to the market,” Lynn Ann Dekleva, who manages product stewardship and regulations at DuPont, told Bloomberg.
Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, EPA acting assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, said EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is working to address manufacturers’ concerns.
“You have his commitment we’ll be working to get that process closer to where it should be,” Cleland-Hamnett said.