By Wolfgang Urhahn, Sr. Product Stewardship Manager, HAVI Global Solutions
HOW WILL THE PACKAGING INDUSTRY BENEFIT FROM THE NEW TSCA?
The new TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) includes a new safety standard, extensive changes to existing chemicals management, and an aggressive implementation schedule. Also, the amended TSCA has an immediate impact on companies that have new chemical submissions pending before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
More effective federal oversight of chemicals is anticipated to give consumers greater confidence that chemicals in commerce, e.g., in food packaging, are being used safely and reduce the number of inconsistent state-based chemical initiatives that negatively impact interstate commerce and send confusing messages to consumers.
Manufacturers and suppliers of packaging and their vendors now have the regulatory certainty they need to innovate and grow. And, at the same time consumer health and the environment benefit from new strong risk-based protection measures introduced by the new TSCA.
For companies that intend to use new substances in packaging, this is good news.
EPA announced its decision to interpret the new law as resetting the 90-day review period clock for TSCA Section 5 Pre-Manufacture-Notice (PMN) reviews pending before EPA as of the date of enactment. EPA also indicated that it would try to complete PMN reviews and make the newly-required determinations within the original review period deadlines. As soon as EPA makes its determination under the new TSCA that a PMN substance is not likely to present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to human health or the environment, the PMN submitter can immediately begin non-exempt manufacture or import, even if EPA’s determination is made before the expiration of the 90-day review period.
The packaging industry should follow the EPA’s plan closely to identify and begin risk evaluations on the initial set of 10 work plan chemicals by mid-December 2016, and for release of the scoping documents by mid-June 2017, to avoid any risk of losing important substances within the packaging supply chain.
In addition, manufactures and suppliers of packaging raw materials that still contain PBTs (Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic chemicals) have only until September 22, 2016 to request risk evaluations of such substances, otherwise EPA will begin the rulemaking to reduce exposure to such substances. In the worst case scenario, a substance could disappear from the market.
In general, it is expected that the new TSCA Act will help to affect state green chemistry and other initiatives to phase out substances with unfavorable effects on human health and the environment. And, the TSCA Modernization Act will affect the material transparency within the packaging material supply chain, chemical restrictions and initiatives at CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). This will drive the development and use of restricted substances lists within the packaging industry.
Overall, the new TSCA will drive the efforts within the packaging material community towards safer chemicals.
Note: The conclusions and views expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of AMERIPEN, its members, or affiliates.