EPA Declares Victory on New Chemicals Backlog

AUGUST 9, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a press release this week, declared that the new chemicals backlog at the Agency has been “eliminated.”

The press release notes that, when Administrator Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate earlier this year, there were nearly 600 Pre-Manufacture Notifications (PMNs) pending; however, that number has now returned to and “is in line with the typical active workload.” “Typical” is defined by the Agency as 300 pending PMNs.

The Agency currently has 382 PMNs still pending, but it has completed review and made determinations on 1,022 substances since the TSCA amendments were enacted in June 2016.

The biggest hurdle for EPA under the amended law has been the requirement that it make an affirmative safety finding regarding the substance before it can be commercialized, which has significantly slowed the PMN review process.

Administrator Pruitt commented in the press release, “EPA has a tremendous responsibility to review new chemicals intended to enter the U.S. market for safety. EPA can either be a roadblock to new products, or it can be supporter of innovation and ever-improving chemical safety. I am happy to report that the backlog of new chemical reviews is eliminated. With the ongoing commitment of the staff working on TSCA reviews, and input from stakeholders, our goal is to ensure a new chemicals program that is both protective of human health and the environment, while also being supportive of bringing new chemicals to market.”
 
Interested ILMA members can review more detailed information and data about EPA’s new chemicals review process under the amended law here. The Agency also said it plans to release draft documents in the fall detailing how EPA makes new chemical determinations.