The Toxic Substances Control Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
A Summary of the Act and
Its Major Requirements
Updated November 18, 2008
Specialist in Environmental Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the
major regulatory programs dealing with chemical production and distribution in U.S.
commerce. The text is excerpted, with minor modifications, from the corresponding
chapter of CRS Report RL30798, Environmental Laws: Summaries of Statutes
Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which summarizes
more than a dozen environmental statutes. Issues related to TSCA implementation
are addressed in CRS Report RL34118, The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
Implementation and New Challenges, by Linda-Jo Schierow.
The President’s Council on Environmental Quality proposed comprehensive
federal legislation in 1971 to identify and control potentially dangerous chemicals in
U.S. commerce that were not adequately regulated under other environmental
statutes. President Ford signed TSCA into law on October 11, 1976. Subsequently,
four titles were added to address specific concerns — asbestos in 1986 (Title II, P.L.
140). In 2008, Congress added a provision to Title I, Section 6, banning certain
activities with respect to elemental mercury.
TSCA authorizes EPA to identify potentially dangerous chemicals in U.S.
commerce that should be subject to federal control. The act authorizes EPA to
gather and disseminate information about production, use, and possible adverse
effects to human health and the environment of existing chemicals, and to issue “test
rules” that require manufacturers and processors of potentially dangerous chemicals
to conduct and report the results of scientific studies to fill information gaps. For
chemicals new to U.S. commerce, TSCA requires pre-market screening and
regulatory tracking of new chemical products.
If EPA identifies unreasonable risks associated with existing or new chemicals,
TSCA requires the Agency to initiate rulemaking to reduce risks to a reasonable
level. EPA may regulate the manufacture, importation, processing, distribution, use,
and/or disposal of chemicals. TSCA provides a variety of regulatory tools to EPA,
ranging in severity from a total ban on production, import, and use to a requirement
that a product must bear a warning label at the point of sale. However, TSCA directs
EPA to use the least burdensome option that can reduce risk to a level that is
reasonable, given the benefits provided by the chemical product or process.
Title I of the original statute establishes the core program, directs EPA to control
risks from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and bans certain activities with respect
to elemental mercury. Title II directs EPA to set standards for asbestos mitigation in
schools and requires asbestos contractors to be trained and certified. Title III directs
EPA to provide technical assistance to states that choose to support radon monitoring
and control. Title IV provides similar assistance with respect to abatement of lead-
based paint hazards. Finally, Title V addresses environmental issues at schools,
including energy efficiency.
In troduction ..................................................1
Testing of Chemicals.......................................3
Pre-manufacture Notification for New Chemicals or Uses..........4
Regulatory Controls for Hazardous Chemicals...................5
Relation to Other Laws.....................................6
Enforcement and Judicial Review.............................6
Confidential Business Information............................7
Title II (Asbestos in Buildings)...................................8
Title III (Radon Programs).......................................9
Title IV (Lead Exposure Reduction)..............................10
Title V (Reducing Risks in Schools)..............................12
List of Tables
Table 1. Toxic Substances Control Act and Major Amendments.............2
Table 2. Major U.S. Code Sections, Toxic Substances Control Act..........13
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
A Summary of the Act and
Its Major Requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for identifying and
regulating toxic substances in U.S. commerce under the authority of the Toxic
Substances Control Act (TSCA). This report defines key terms, provides a brief
history of toxic substances control law, and describes key provisions of TSCA. In
addition, this report lists several references for more detailed information about the
act and provides a table that cross references sections of the U.S. Code with
corresponding sections of the act. The report is descriptive rather than analytic,
highlights key provisions rather than providing a comprehensive inventory of the
act’s numerous sections, and addresses authorities and limitations imposed by statute,
rather than the status of EPA implementation or other policy issues. Other CRS
products address current issues related to the production and use of toxic chemicals,
including CRS Report RL34118, The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
Implementation and New Challenges; CRS Report RS22379, Persistent Organic
Pollutants (POPs): Fact Sheet on Three International Agreements; and CRS Report
RS22673, Chemical Regulation in the European Union: Registration, Evaluation,
and Authorization of Chemicals, all by Linda-Jo Schierow.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) authorizes the EPA
to screen existing and new chemicals used in manufacturing and commerce to
identify potentially dangerous products or uses that should be subject to federal
control. EPA may require manufacturers and processors of chemicals to conduct and
report the results of tests to determine the effects of potentially dangerous chemicals
on living things. Based on test results and other information, EPA must regulate the
manufacture, importation, processing, distribution, use, and/or disposal of any
chemical that presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the
environment. A variety of regulatory tools is available to EPA under TSCA, ranging
in severity from a total ban on production, import, and use to a requirement that a
product bears a warning label at the point of sale. TSCA directs EPA to use the least
burdensome option that can reduce risk to a level that is reasonable, given the
benefits provided by the chemical product or process.
Table 1. Toxic Substances Control Act and Major Amendments
(codified as 15 U.S.C. 2601-2671)
YearActPublic Law Number
1976Toxic Substances Control ActP.L. 94-469
1986Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response ActP.L. 99-519
1988Radon Program Development ActP.L. 100-551
1990Asbestos School Hazard Abatement
Reauthorization ActP.L. 101-637
1992Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard
Reduction Act of 1992P.L. 102-550
subtitle E - Healthy High-Performance SchoolsP.L. 110-140
2008Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008P.L. 110-414
Federal legislation to control toxic substances was originally proposed in 1971
by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. Its report, “Toxic Substances,”
defined a need for comprehensive legislation to identify and control chemicals whose
manufacture, processing, distribution, use, and/or disposal was potentially dangerous
and not adequately regulated under other environmental statutes. The House andndrd
Senate each passed bills in both the 92 and 93 Congresses (in 1972 and 1973,
respectively), but controversies over the scope of chemical screening prior to
commercial production and distribution, level of costs, and the relationship to other
regulatory laws stalled final action. Episodes of environmental contamination —
including contamination of the Hudson River and other waterways by PCBs, the
threat of stratospheric ozone depletion from chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions,
and contamination of agricultural produce by polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) in
the state of Michigan — together with more exact estimates of the costs of imposing
toxic substances controls, opened the way for final passage of the legislation.
President Ford signed the TSCA into law on October 11, 1976. The original
legislation included a single title, which has since been designated Title I.
TSCA (Title I) directs EPA to
!require manufacturers and processors to conduct tests for existing
chemicals if (1) their manufacture, distribution, processing, use, or
disposal may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the
environment; or they are to be produced in substantial quantities and
the potential for environmental release or human exposure is
substantial or significant; (2) existing data are insufficient to predict
the effects of human exposure and environmental releases; and (3)
testing is necessary to develop such data (Section 4);
!prevent future risks through pre-manufacture screening and
regulatory tracking of new chemical products (Section 5);
!control unreasonable risks already known, including risks from
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as risks for existing
chemicals that may be discovered in the future (Section 6); and
!gather and disseminate information about chemical production, use,
and possible adverse effects to human health and the environment
Authorization for appropriations for these activities and a state grant program for
control of toxic substances in the environment expired on September 30, 1983,
although appropriations for these programs have continued.
In October 2008, Congress amended TSCA Title I when it enacted the Mercury
Export Ban Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-414). It prohibits certain activities with respect
to elemental mercury.
Subsequently, four titles have been added to TSCA to address specific concerns
— asbestos in 1986 (Title II, P.L. 99-519), radon in 1988 (Title III, P.L. 100-551),
lead in 1992 (Title IV, P.L. 102-550), and schools in 2007 (Title V, P.L. 110-140).
Title II directs EPA to set standards for asbestos mitigation in schools, and requires
asbestos contractors to be trained and certified. Title III directs EPA to provide
technical assistance to states that choose to support radon monitoring and control.
Title IV provides similar assistance with respect to abatement of lead-based paint
hazards. Finally, Title V addresses environmental issues at schools, including energy
Testing of Chemicals. Many chemicals, even some in widespread use, are
not well characterized in terms of their potential health and environmental effects.
One of the major goals of TSCA was to induce the development of test data by
producers (i.e., manufacturers, importers, and processors) of chemicals in commerce.
Section 4 of TSCA directs EPA to require the development of test data on existing
chemicals when certain conditions prevail: (1) the manufacture, processing, distri-
bution, use, or disposal of the chemical “may present an unreasonable risk,” or (2)
the chemical is produced in very large volume and there is a potential for a
substantial quantity to be released into the environment or for substantial or
significant human exposure. Under either condition, EPA must issue a rule requiring
tests if: (a) existing data are insufficient to resolve the question of safety, and (b)
testing is necessary to develop the data.
Because there were more than 55,000 chemicals in U.S. commerce at the time
EPA was to begin developing test rules, Congress established a special interagency
committee to help EPA determine which chemicals should be considered first, and
to coordinate testing needs and efforts among government agencies. At least every
six months the Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) must consider candidate
chemicals for inclusion on a list of substances that the ITC recommends to EPA for
development and promulgation of test rules. TSCA directs the ITC to “designate”
a subset of chemicals on the list for EPA action within 12 months. The list can
contain no more than 50 “designated” chemicals at any time. When a chemical is
designated, EPA has one year to respond by issuing a proposed test rule or a notice
explaining why no testing is needed.
TSCA requires the ITC to consider the following factors when it makes listing
decisions: (1) quantity of the substance to be manufactured, (2) quantity of the
chemical in environmental releases, (3) number of people who will be exposed
occupationally and the duration of exposure, (4) extent of non-occupational human
exposure, (5) similarity of the chemical to any other chemical known to present an
unreasonable risk, (6) existence of data concerning environmental or health effects
of the chemical, (7) the quantity of information to be gained by testing, and (8) the
availability of facilities and personnel for performing testing. Chemicals known or
suspected to cause or contribute to cancer, gene mutations, or birth defects are to be
assigned a higher priority. In response to information that indicates “there may be
a reasonable basis to conclude that a chemical ... presents or will present a significant
risk of serious or widespread harm to human beings from cancer, gene mutations, or
birth defects,” TSCA requires EPA action to prevent or reduce that risk or
publication of a finding that the risk is not unreasonable.
Pre-manufacture Notification for New Chemicals or Uses. TSCA
(Section 5) requires manufacturers, importers, and processors to notify EPA at least
90 days prior to producing or otherwise introducing a new chemical product into the
United States. Any information or test data that is known to, reasonably ascertainable
by, or in possession of the notifier, and that might be useful to EPA in evaluating the
chemical’s potential adverse effects on human health or the environment, must be
submitted to EPA at the same time. TSCA also requires EPA to be notified when
there are plans to produce, process, or use an existing chemical in a way that differs
from previously permitted uses, if the Administrator has determined by rule that new
uses of the chemical may produce significant changes in human and environmental
exposures and therefore require notification. The 90-day notice provides EPA with
the opportunity to evaluate the chemical use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit
such activity before it occurs to prevent unreasonable risk of injury to human health
or the environment.
EPA has 45 days after notification (or up to 90 days if it extends the period for
good cause) to evaluate the potential risk posed by the chemical. If EPA determines
that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the substance presents or will present
an unreasonable risk, the Administrator must promulgate requirements to protect
adequately against such risk. Alternatively, EPA may determine that the proposed
activity related to a chemical does not present an unreasonable risk; this decision may
be based on the available data, or, when no data exist to document the effects of
exposure, on what is known about the effects of chemicals in commerce with similar
chemical structures and used in similar ways.
The purpose of EPA’s screening procedure is to identify potential hazards, and
control them before use of a chemical becomes widespread. If data are inadequate
to make an informed judgment and (1) manufacture, processing, distribution in
commerce, use, or disposal may present an unreasonable risk, or (2) a chemical is to
be produced in substantial quantities, and the potential for environmental release or
human exposure is substantial or significant, EPA may issue a proposed order to
prohibit or limit such activities until sufficient data are submitted.
Although the legislative history of TSCA includes a presumption that testing of
new products would take place before they were widely used, either as the chemical
was developed, or as its markets grew, TSCA also forbids promulgation of blanket
testing requirements for all new chemicals. This reflects concern that uniform testing
requirements might stifle innovation in the chemical industry. Thus, EPA must
decide which chemicals, or which categories of chemicals, warrant the costs of pre-
market testing. EPA reviews more than 1,000 new chemical manufacturing notices
Regulatory Controls for Hazardous Chemicals. TSCA requires EPA
to regulate manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce, use, or disposal of
a chemical if it will present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the
environment, and the risk cannot be reduced to a sufficient degree under another
federal law administered by EPA. The alternative means available to EPA for
controlling chemical hazards that present unreasonable risks are specified in Section
!prohibit or limit the amount of production or distribution of a
substance in commerce;
!prohibit or limit the production or distribution of a substance for a
!limit the volume or concentration of the chemical produced;
!prohibit or regulate the manner or method of commercial use;
!require warning labels and/or instructions on containers or products;
!require notification of the risk of injury to distributors and, to the
extent possible, consumers;
!require record-keeping by producers;
!specify disposal methods; and
!require replacement or repurchase of products already distributed.
EPA also may impose any of these requirements in combination or for a specific
geographical region. However, EPA is required by TSCA to regulate only “to the
extent necessary to protect adequately” against a risk, and to use the “least
burdensome” regulatory approach, even in controlling unreasonable risks.
Two chemical substances are directly addressed in Title I: PCBs and elemental
mercury. TSCA directs EPA to regulate PCBs and to ban most uses. In addition,
TSCA prohibits the sale, distribution, or transfer of elemental mercury by federal
Information Gathering. Section 8 of TSCA requires EPA to develop and
maintain an inventory of all chemicals, or categories of chemicals, manufactured or
processed in the United States. The first version of this inventory identified
approximately 55,000 chemicals in commerce in 1979. All chemicals not on the
inventory are, by definition, “new” and subject to the notification provisions of
Section 5. These chemicals must be added to the inventory if they enter U.S.
commerce. Chemicals need not be listed if they are only produced in very small
quantities for purposes of experimentation or research.
To aid EPA in its duties under TSCA, the Agency was granted considerable
authority to collect information from industries. EPA may require maintenance of
records and reporting of: chemical identities, names, and molecular structures;
categories of use; amounts manufactured and processed for each category of use;
descriptions of byproducts resulting from manufacture, processing, use, and disposal;
environmental and health effects; number of individuals exposed; number of
employees exposed and the duration of exposure; and manner or method of chemical
Manufacturers, processors, and distributors of chemicals are required to
maintain records of significant adverse reactions to health or the environment alleged
to have been caused by a substance or mixture. Records of adverse effects on the
health of employees must be retained for 30 years from the date of reporting.
Industry also must submit lists and copies of health and safety studies. Studies
showing adverse effects previously unknown must be submitted to EPA as soon as
they are completed or discovered.
Imminent Hazards. Section 7 provides EPA authority to take emergency
action through the district courts to control a chemical substance or mixture which
presents an imminent and unreasonable risk of serious widespread injury to health
or the environment.
Relation to Other Laws. Section 9 allows EPA to refer cases of chemical
risk to other federal agencies with the authority to prevent or reduce the risk. For
statutes under EPA’s jurisdiction, TSCA gives the Administrator discretion to decide
if a risk can best be handled under the authority of TSCA.
Enforcement and Judicial Review. Section 11 authorizes EPA to inspect
any facilities subject to TSCA requirements and to issue subpoenas requiring
attendance and testimony of witnesses, production of reports and documents, answers
to questions and other necessary information. Section 13 mandates TSCA
enforcement at the national borders by the Treasury Department.
Section 15 identifies acts prohibited under TSCA, while Section 16 describes
penalties for acts violating these prohibitions, as well as recourse available to anyone
accused of such violations. Section 16 authorizes civil penalties, not to exceed
$25,000 per violation per day, and affords the defendant an opportunity to request a
hearing before an order is issued and to petition for judicial review of an order after
it is issued. Criminal penalties also are authorized for willful violations. Section 17
provides jurisdiction to U.S. district courts in civil actions to enforce TSCA Section
Chemicals may be seized and condemned if their manufacture, processing, or
distribution violated the act.
Section 19 authorizes any person to file a petition for judicial review of
specified rules within 60 days of issuance under TSCA. The court is directed to set
aside specified rules if they are not supported by substantial evidence in the
rulemaking record taken as a whole.
Section 20 authorizes civil suits by any person against any person in violation
of the act. It also authorizes suits against EPA to compel performance of
nondiscretionary actions under TSCA. Section 21 provides the public with the right
to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule requiring toxicity testing
of a chemical, regulation of the chemical, or reporting.
Confidential Business Information. Section 14 provides broad protection
of proprietary confidential information about chemicals in commerce. Disclosure by
EPA employees of such information generally is not permitted, except to other
federal employees, or when necessary to protect health or the environment. Data
from health and safety studies of chemicals is not protected unless its disclosure
would reveal a chemical process or chemical proportion in a mixture. Wrongful
disclosure of confidential data by federal employees is prohibited, and may result in
Chemical Categories. Section 26 allows EPA to impose regulatory controls
on categories of chemicals, rather than on a case-by-case basis. However, EPA
cannot regulate a group merely because it is composed of new chemical substances.
State Preemption. TSCA Section 18 preempts state actions that establish or
continue in effect requirements applicable to a chemical substance or mixture that is
regulated under TSCA Section 5 or 6, unless the state requirement is identical to the
federal requirement, implements another federal law, or prohibits use of the
substance or mixture within the state. However, a state may ask EPA to allow a state
requirement that provides a significantly higher degree of protection from risk than
does the federal requirement.
Other Provisions. TSCA Section 10 directs EPA to conduct and coordinate
among federal agencies research, development, and monitoring that is necessary to
the purposes of the act.
Section 12 excludes chemical products manufactured for export from TSCA
requirements except for reporting and record keeping requirements in Section 8. In
2008, Congress excluded elemental mercury from this exemption, banning its export
beginning in 2013, with the exception of mercury contained in coal. Other
exemptions for essential uses may be granted by rule.
Section 22 waives compliance when in the interest of national defense.
Section 23 provides protection of employees who assist in carrying out the
provisions of the act (i.e., “whistle-blowers”).
The potential effects of TSCA rules on employment must be monitored by EPA,
according to Section 24.
Section 25 mandates study of the need for indemnification of people affected
by federal laws administered by EPA and of the feasibility of establishing a standard
classification system for chemical substances and of storing and retrieving
information about them.
Section 26 authorizes data sharing and cooperative action to facilitate TSCA
implementation between EPA and other federal agencies. It also authorizes
collection of fees for EPA processing of data submitted in response to an order under
Section 4 or 5. EPA is directed to establish an office to assist the regulated
community. The Agency also must establish a procedure to ensure disclosure of
financial interests in the regulated community by EPA employees. Final orders
issued under TSCA must contain a statement of basis and purpose. Finally, Section
TSCA Section 27 authorizes research and development of test methods for
chemicals by the Public Health Service in cooperation with EPA.
Grants to states are authorized by Section 28 to establish and operate programs
to prevent or eliminate unreasonable risks to health or the environment.
Section 29 authorized appropriations through 1983.
An annual report is mandated by Section 30.
Title II (Asbestos in Buildings)
Growing public concern about the presence of potentially hazardous asbestos
in buildings, especially in schools, led to congressional efforts to address this
problem. Title II of TSCA, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
(AHERA), was enacted in 1986 (P.L. 99-519) and amended in July 1988 (P.L.
100-368). It required EPA to set standards by October 1987, for responding to the
presence of asbestos in schools. The standards, set at levels adequate to protect
public health and the environment, identify appropriate response actions that depend
on the physical condition of asbestos. Schools, in turn, were required to inspect for
asbestos-containing material, and to develop and implement a plan for managing any
such material. Plans for managing asbestos were to be submitted by schools before
May 1989, and implementation was to begin by July 1989. The law contains no
deadlines for schools to complete implementation.
Title II requires asbestos contractors and analytical laboratories to be certified,
and schools to use certified persons for abatement work. Training and accreditation
requirements also apply to inspectors, contractors, and workers performing asbestos
abatement work in all public and commercial buildings. EPA may award training
grants to nonprofit organizations for asbestos health and safety programs. However,
authorization of appropriations for this grant program expired September 30, 1995.
Other Title II requirements (such as mandates that buildings be inspected for
asbestos) have not been extended to non-school buildings.
To enforce requirements, TSCA authorizes EPA to take emergency action with
respect to schools if school officials do not act to protect children. The act also
authorizes citizen action with respect to asbestos-containing material in a school and
to compel action by EPA, either through administrative petition or judicial action.
Civil penalties not to exceed $5,000 are authorized for violations such as failing to
conduct an inspection or to develop a school management plan.
Concern about how schools would pay for required actions was addressed in
separate legislation (the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act of 1984, or
ASHAA, P.L. 98-377). It established a program offering grants and interest-free
loans to schools with serious asbestos problems and demonstrated financial need.
Although EPA for several years did not request funding for this program, Congress
appropriated funds. Authorization of appropriations for this program expired
September 30, 1995, and Congress has not appropriated funds since FY1993; a total
of $382 million in grant and loan funds were appropriated from FY1984 through
FY1993. Repaid ASHAA loans are returned to an Asbestos Trust Fund, established
in TSCA Title II, to become a dedicated source of revenues for future asbestos
Title III (Radon Programs)
In October 1988, Congress amended TSCA by adding Title III — Indoor Radon
Abatement (15 U.S.C. 2661 et seq., P.L. 100-551). The basic purpose of Title III is
to provide financial and technical assistance to the states that choose to support radon
monitoring and control; neither monitoring nor abatement of radon is required by the
Title III required EPA to update its pamphlet “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon,” to
develop model construction standards and techniques for controlling radon levels
within new buildings, and to provide technical assistance to states. EPA is to provide
technical assistance by: establishing an information clearinghouse; publishing public
information materials; establishing a national database of radon levels detected,
organized by state; providing information to professional organizations representing
private firms involved in building design and construction; submitting to Congress
a plan for providing financial and technical assistance to states; operating cooperative
projects with states; conducting research to develop, test, and evaluate radon
measurement methods and protocols; developing and demonstrating new methods
of radon measurement and mitigation, including methods that are suitable for use in
nonresidential child care facilities; operating a voluntary program to rate radon
measurement and mitigation devices and methods and the effectiveness of private
firms and individuals offering radon-related services; and designing and
implementing training seminars. The proficiency rating program and certification for
training programs collect fees for service, and therefore are meant to be self-
supporting, but Congress authorized $1,500,000 to be appropriated to establish these
programs. Congress authorized $3,000,000 to be appropriated for each of three years
beginning in 1989 for the other provisions of Sections 303, 304 and 305.
A matching grant program was established for the purpose of assisting states in
developing and implementing programs for radon assessment and mitigation. For
this program, $30 million was authorized to be appropriated over three years, with
funds targeted to states or projects that made efforts to ensure adoption of EPA’s
model construction standards and techniques for new buildings; gave preference to
low-income persons; or addressed serious and extensive radon contamination
problems or had the potential to reduce risk or to develop innovative assessment
techniques, mitigation measures, or management approaches.
Other sections of Title III require EPA to: conduct a study to determine the
extent of radon contamination in schools; identify and list areas of the U.S. with a
high probability of having high levels of indoor radon; make grants or cooperative
agreements to establish and operate at least three regional radon training centers; and
provide guidance to federal agencies on radon measurement, risk assessment, and
All authorizations for appropriations specific to this title expired September 30,
Title IV (Lead Exposure Reduction)
The 102nd Congress added Title IV to TSCA when it enacted the Residential
Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 as Title X in the Housing and
Community Development Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-550). TSCA Title IV aims to
accelerate federal efforts to reduce risks to young children who daily are exposed to
lead-based paint in their homes. In addition, it was intended to stimulate development
of lead inspection and hazard abatement services in the private sector, while ensuring
that the services provided and any products employed are reliable and effective in
reducing risk. To these ends, Title IV directs EPA:
!to promulgate definitions of lead-contaminated dust, lead-
contaminated soil, and lead-based paint hazards;
!to ensure that people engaged in detection and control of lead
hazards are properly trained and that contractors are certified;
!to publish requirements for the accreditation of training programs for
!to develop criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of commercial
products used to detect or reduce risks associated with lead-based
!to establish protocols, criteria, and minimum performance standards
for laboratory analysis of lead in paint films, soil, and dust;
!to establish a program to certify laboratories as qualified to test
substances for lead content; and
!to publish and distribute to the public a list of certified or accredited
environmental sampling laboratories.
Title IV explicitly applies these requirements to federal facilities and activities that
may create a lead hazard.
In addition, Congress directed EPA to conduct a study of lead hazards due to
renovation and remodeling activities that may incidentally disturb lead-based paint.
EPA is required to promulgate guidelines for the renovation and remodeling of
buildings or other structures when these activities might create a hazard.
Title IV directs EPA to establish a clearinghouse and hotline to distribute
information about the hazards of lead-based paint, how to avoid exposure and reduce
risk, and new technologies for removing or immobilizing lead-based paint. In
addition, Congress mandated development of: a lead hazard information pamphlet;
public education and outreach activities for health professionals, the general public,
homeowners, landlords, tenants, consumers of home improvement products, the
residential real estate industry, and the home renovation industry; and information
to be distributed by retailers of home improvement products to provide consumers
with practical information related to the hazards of renovation where lead-based paint
may be present.
Title IV authorizes states to propose programs to train and certify inspectors and
contractors engaged in the detection or control of lead-based paint hazards. States
also may develop the required informational pamphlets. TSCA requires EPA to
promulgate a model state program that may be adopted by any state. Congress gave
EPA the authority to approve or disapprove authorization for state proposals and to
provide grants for states to develop and implement authorized programs. A federal
program must be established, administered, and enforced by EPA in each state
without an authorized program.
The Department of Health and Human Services also has responsibilities under
Title IV of TSCA. It mandates a study by the Centers for Disease Prevention and
Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences to
determine the sources of lead exposure to children who have elevated lead levels in
their bodies. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is directed
to study ways of reducing occupational exposure to lead during abatement activities.
The act established a rule-making docket to ensure the availability to the general
public of all documents submitted to agencies that are relevant to regulatory
decisions pursuant to this legislation. The docket is required to include the drafts of
all proposed rules submitted by EPA to the President’s Office of Management and
Budget (OMB), written comments on the drafts, and written responses to comments.
In addition, the Agency must provide an explanation for any major change to a
proposed rule that appears in the final rule, and such changes may not be made based
on information not filed in the docket. Dockets are required to be established in each
EPA regional office.
Congress authorized to be appropriated “such sums as may be necessary” for
TSCA Title IV.
In addition to amending TSCA, Title X of the Housing and Community
Development Act of 1992 authorized grants to states for risk assessments and lead-
based paint removal and immobilization in private housing for low-income residents;
establishing state training, certification, or accreditation programs for inspectors and
abatement contractors; and research at the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD). Authorization for appropriations for these grants expired
September 30, 1994, but appropriations have continued. Title X directed HUD to
establish guidelines for federally supported work involving risk assessments,
inspections, interim controls, and abatement of lead-based paint hazards. In addition,
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was provided $10
million for training people who remove or immobilize paint.
Title V (Reducing Risks in Schools)
At the end of 2007, the 110th Congress added a fifth title to TSCA, subtitled
Healthy High-Performance Schools. Enacted as Subtitle E (section 461) of Public
Law 110-140, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, TSCA Title V
authorizes EPA to establish a state grant program to provide technical assistance for
EPA programs to schools and develop and implement state school environmental
health programs. State programs must include standards for school building design,
construction, and renovation, and identify ongoing school building environmental
problems and recommended solutions. Environmental problems specifically
mentioned in the law include “contaminants, hazardous substances, and pollutant
emissions.” EPA’s authority to provide grants expires five years after the date of
Title V requires the EPA Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of
Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to issue voluntary
guidelines within 18 months of Title V enactment for selecting sites for schools
(presumably new schools). The guidelines are to account for the “special
vulnerability of children to hazardous substances or pollution exposures in any case
in which the potential for contamination at a potential school site exists,” modes of
transportation available to students and staff, efficient use of energy, and potential
use of a school at the site as an emergency shelter.
Title V also requires the EPA Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary
of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to issue voluntary
guidelines within two years of enactment for developing and implementing state
environmental health programs for schools. These guidelines must take into account
the findings of federal initiatives established under “relevant federal law with respect
to school facilities,” including initiatives related to water and energy conservation
authorized by sections 431 through 441, and work related to high-performance green
buildings authorized by section 492 of P.L. 110-140. In particular, the guidelines
must take into account “environmental problems, contaminants, hazardous
substances, and pollutant emissions”; natural day lighting; ventilation; heating and
cooling; moisture control and mold; maintenance, cleaning, and pest control;
acoustics; and “other issues relating to the health, comfort, productivity, and
performance of occupants of the school facilities.” In addition, Title V requires that
the guidelines provide “technical assistance on siting, design, management, and
operation of school facilities”; collaborate with children’s environmental health
centers in school environmental investigations”; assist states and the public to better
understand and improve the environmental health of children; and take into account
“the special vulnerability of children in low-income and minority communities to
exposures from contaminants, hazardous substances, and pollutant emissions.”
Several provisions in Title V refer to entities established under other sections
of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140). For example,
Title V contains directives for the Federal Director of the Office of Federal High-
Performance Green Buildings in the General Services Administration, which was
created by section 436(a). In addition, there is reference to the national
high-performance green building clearinghouse established in section 423(1) “to
carry out public outreach to inform individuals and entities of the information and
services [related to high-performance green buildings] available governmentwide.”
Title V requires the Federal Director to ensure, “to the maximum extent practicable,”
that the public clearinghouse “receives and makes available information on the
exposure of children to environmental hazards in school facilities.” The EPA
Administrator is directed to prepare an annual report to Congress on activities carried
out under Title V authority, and this report also must be made available to the public
through the clearinghouse.
For the purposes of carrying out the provisions of Title V, Congress authorized
appropriations of $7 million through 2013.
Table 2. Major U.S. Code Sections,
Toxic Substances Control Acta
(codified as 15 U.S.C. 2601-2692)
Subchapter I -Control of Toxic Substances
2601Findings, policy and intentsec. 2
2603Testing of chemical substances andsec. 4
2604Manufacturing and processing noticessec. 5
2605Regulation of hazardous chemicalsec. 6
substances and mixtures
2606Imminent hazardssec. 7
2607Reporting and retention of informationsec. 8
2608Relationship to other federal lawssec. 9
2609Research, development, collection,sec. 10
dissemination, and utilization of data
2610Inspections and subpoenassec. 11
2612Entry into customs territory of the Unitedsec. 13
2613Disclosure of datasec. 14
2614Prohibited actssec. 15
2616Specific enforcement and seizuresec. 17
2619Citizens’ civil actionssec. 20
2620Citizens’ petitionssec. 21
2621National defense waiversec. 22
2622Employee protectionsec. 23
2623Employment effectssec. 24
2627Development and evaluation of testsec. 27
2628Authorization of appropriationssec. 28
2629Annual reportsec. 29
Subchapter II -Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response
2641Congressional findings and purposesec. 201
2643EPA regulationssec. 203
2644Requirements if EPA fails to promulgatesec. 204
2645Submission to state Governorsec. 205
2646Contractor and laboratory accreditationsec. 206
2648Emergency authoritysec. 208
2649State and federal lawsec. 209
2650Asbestos contractors and local educationalsec. 210
2651Public protectionsec. 211
2652Asbestos ombudsmansec. 212
2653EPA study of asbestos-containing materialsec. 213
in public buildings
2654Transition rulessec. 214
2655Worker protectionsec. 215
Subchapter III -Indoor Radon Abatement
2661National goalsec. 301
2663EPA’s citizen guidesec. 303
2664Model construction standards andsec. 304
2665Technical assistance to states for radonsec. 305
2666Grant Assistance to states for radonsec. 306
2667Radon in schoolssec. 307
2668Regional radon training centerssec. 308
2669Study of radon in federal buildingssec. 309
2671Additional authorizationssec. 311
Subchapter IV -Lead Exposure Reduction
2682Lead-based paint activities training andsec. 402
2683Identification of dangerous levels of leadsec. 403
2684Authorized state programssec. 404
2685Lead abatement and measurementsec. 405
2688Control of lead-based paint at federalsec. 408
2689Prohibited actssec. 409
2690Relationship to other federal lawsec. 410
2691General provisions relating tosec. 411
2692Authorization of appropriationssec. 412
Subtitle V - Healthy High-Performance Schools
Grants for healthy school environmentssec. 501
Model guidelines for siting of schoolsec. 502
Public outreachsec. 503
Environmental health programsec. 504
Authorization of appropriationssec. 505
a. This table shows only the major code sections. For more detail and to determine when a section was
added, the reader should consult the official printed version of the U.S. Code.
Bergeson, Lynn L. TSCA: Toxic Substances Control Act. Basic Practice Series.
Chicago, IL: Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, American Bar
Association, 2000. 151 p.
Bergeson, Lynn L., Lisa M. Campbell, and Lisa Rothenberg. 2000. TSCA and the
Future of Chemical Regulation, EPA Administrative Law Reporter, v. 15, n. 4,
Hathaway, Carolyne R., David J. Hayes, and William K. Rawson. “A Practitioner’s
Guide to the Toxic Substances Control Act: Part I.” Environmental Law
Reporter, v. 24, May 1994, pp. 10207-10230.
——Part II. Environmental Law Reporter, v. 24, June 1994, pp. 10285-10304.
——Part III. Environmental Law Reporter, v. 24, July 1994, pp. 10357-10405.
CRS Report RS21688, Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention: Summary of
Federal Mandates and Financial Assistance for Reducing Hazards in Housing,
by Linda-Jo Schierow.