EPA Strengthens Chemical Risk Evaluation Process

April 24, 2024
Final rule will improve the process that evaluates chemicals to determine risk to workers.

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule designed to improve the process for conducting risk evaluations on chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to the agency, improvements to the EPA’s processes ensure TSCA risk evaluations account for the risks associated with a chemical and provide a solid foundation for protecting public health, including workers and communities, from toxic chemicals. 

The 2016 TSCA amendments require the EPA establish a procedural framework rule on the process for conducting chemical risk evaluations. These evaluations are the basis for the agency’s risk management rules that protect people and the environment from harmful chemicals. Although the EPA finalized a risk evaluation framework rule in 2017, that rule was challenged in court and several provisions of the rule were sent back to the agency for reconsideration. 

The final rule includes revisions to comply with the court’s ruling and several changes to improve the risk evaluation process, including:

  • Consideration of real-world exposure scenarios such as multiple exposure pathways (e.g., in air and water) to the same chemical, and combined risks from multiple chemicals when the EPA has the scientific information to do so.  
  • A requirement that risk evaluations are comprehensive in scope and do not exclude conditions of use (COU) or exposure pathways.
  • Clarifications to ensure the EPA appropriately considers risks to all workers.
  • Consideration of chemical uses that may be required for national security or critical infrastructure by other Federal agencies.
  • Ensure that the agency will continue to use the best available science to conduct risk evaluations, that decisions are based on the weight of the scientific evidence, and that risk evaluations will be peer-reviewed in accordance with both federal and EPA guidance.

Read more on additional changes in the final rule and learn more about the risk evaluation process

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