How Compliance with the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Impacts Business 

The Toxic Substances Control ACT (TSCA) is pronounced ‘tosca' and was passed in 1976 to regulate dangerous chemical substances that may pose environmental and health risks. Compliance with TSCA can be achieved with a software solution that helps organizations manage both large and small classification projects across geographically dispersed organizations and that include the latest TSCA regulations and a Chemical Substances Inventory.

  • TSCA was passed in 1976
  • EPA now regulates approximately 83,000 chemical substances
  • Chemicals are listed by a Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number
  • Regulated Chemicals Must be Reported to the EPA 

The History of TSCA

Products are constantly evolving as companies seek to make products better, stronger, more durable and more appealing to the world market. However, with innovation can come risk. These products may use new or toxic substances and chemicals that canposehealth or environmental hazards. As a result, The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was established 40 years ago to regulate these dangerous chemical substances, including their import and export. With fines that can reach into the millions, the TSCA is presents a compliance challenge for many manufacturers and procurement departments. However, leading businesses know that to understand more about the TSCA is to run a better business.

The TSCA, pronounced as ‘tosca', was passed in 1976. Concerns about asbestos and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) were prominent in the public’s conscience at the time as a result of several incidents that resulted in harmful effects to wildlife and people. The statute introduced new restrictions on these substances. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was given the responsibility to administrate the regulatory structure of the program. This included the creation of a listing of chemical substances (currently about 83,000) that are regulated by the statute.

How are Chemicals Reported and Regulated?

Substances are listed by their Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers. TSCA also included regulations for all new chemical substances introduced into the stream of commerce via pre-manufacture notices which are requirements for any substances that will be used in a new way or with increased volumes or Significant New Use Rules (SNURs). As a result, businesses must report to the EPA any information about a regulated substance that may lead to a significant risk to human health or the environment.  

EPA TSCA connectivity is currently part of the Partner Government Agency (PGA) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) test. 

Careful compliance with these regulations is essential to any concern manufacturing in the U.S. or with responsibility for a supply chain. For example, a vendor that sells a manufacturer a component product that contains a substance that is not on the TSCA inventory may result in a complete production shut down until the situation is resolved with the EPA. Some companies are calling for a modernization of TSCA regulations to speed innovation and to keep pace with modernization.

Toxic Substances Control Act Impacts Imports/Exports

Equally important are the import and export rules under the TSCA. Importers of chemical substances are required to certify to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the products are either in compliance with (positive certification) or outside the scope of TSCA’s regulation (negative certification). Importing is considered tantamount to manufacturing under the TSCA. Exporters are required to file notifications with the government whenever substances regulated under the TSCA are shipped out of the country.

This information is shared by the EPA with the government of the importing country. Importers and exporters trading with Europe must also be aware of (and compliant with) the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations as established by the European Union (EU). These regulations are similar to, but not entirely congruent with, the TSCA rules.

Business Solutions for Better Compliance

Staying current and compliant with changing regulations can be one of the most time consuming tasks for trade professionals. Government portals may not be updated at the speed of business, and reliance on these systems may not be adequate enough to demonstrate reasonable care. Descartes CustomsInfo™ Manager is designed as a powerful, collaborative, customizable Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to manage compliance and unite various business components together on one common platform.

The service includes the latest TSCA regulations and a Chemical Substances Inventory, in addition to other vital information needed for effective trade management. In addition, the solution helps organizations manage both large and small classification projects across geographically dispersed organizations. Configurable workflows, tables, fields, dropdown menus, languages and other options help to further refine usage.

Descartes CustomsInfo™ is an asset to any trade-oriented business that wants to streamline automation, improve classification processes, drive commerce and work smarter. Descartes software solutions help to improve efficiency, increase visibility and manage compliance, while reducing risk and duty spend.

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