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EPA final rule includes TSCA amendments covering hazard communication, significant new use rules

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Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule intended to ensure workers “have access to clear and consistent information about the risks they may face from toxic substances.”

Published in the July 5 Federal Register and set to go into effect Sept. 6, the rule is part of ongoing efforts to implement policies and regulations that “better align EPA’s new chemicals program with the amended Toxic Substances Control Act.” That includes:

  • Matching EPA regulations for toxic substance labels with OSHA rules for Safety Data Sheets and other materials to ensure hazard and precautionary statements are in consistent use during the hazard communication process.
  • Adding provisions to strengthen EPA’s requirements that employers educate workers on risks and effective use of personal protective equipment.
  • Establishing provisions to ease the process for EPA to issue significant new use rules that require manufacturers to notify the agency on whether they intend to use a substance without considering and implementing engineering controls when feasible. After receiving a notice, EPA will review the use to determine the potential for unreasonable risks to human health and the environment, as well as make sure needed protections are in place before use can begin.

“EPA expects these changes to have minimal impact on the costs and burdens of compliance, while updating the significant new use reporting requirements to assist in addressing any potential risks to human health and the environment,” the agency says.

After weighing comments received during a 2016 comment period, EPA resolved that amendments related to SNURs would apply only to those SNURs issued after the rule is finalized.

Other amendments are set to be finalized as proposed.

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