3.4. Toxic Substances Control Act
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authorizes EPA to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use or disposal of any substance that presents “an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” EPA’s rules are to be applied “to the extent necessary to protect adequately against such risk using the least burdensome requirements…”
In promulgating rules under TSCA, EPA is to consider and publish a statement regarding:
- (A) “the effects…on health and the magnitude of the exposure of human beings…,
(B) “the effects…on the environment and the magnitude of the exposure of the environment…,
(C) “the benefits of such substance or mixture for various uses and the availability of substitutes for such uses, and
(D) “the reasonably ascertainable economic consequences of the rule, after consideration of the effects on the national economy, small business, technological innovation, the environment, and public health.” 2605
Because this language in TSCA calls for consideration of health and environmental effects as well as economic consequences, EPA generally considers all aspects of benefit-cost analysis in establishing rules under this authority. The range of potential responses EPA has when it finds substances pose an unreasonable risk is very broad, including prohibitions on manufacture and distribution; limits on the amount that may be produced and distributed; restrictions to certain uses and concentrations; and labeling and warnings. This broad range of potential policy responses assures that several alternatives generally would be considered when a substance is found to pose unreasonable risk.
TSCA includes cost and cost-effectiveness criteria in other sections as well. For example, the Act requires that the relative costs of various test protocols should be among the considerations in developing testing rules for chemicals. Section 2603.