According to a news article on lexology.com, the Environmental Protection Administration has made a significant announcement that will seriously impact businesses. The announcement states that it may require companies that manufacture, import, or process a finished product for commercial sale to understand all of the chemicals contained in those products. Products such as firearms, tobacco products, pesticides, food, food additives, cosmetics, drugs, or devices, would be exempt.
In the past, the EPA typically did not extend its chemical regulations to finished products, also known as “articles” in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The requirement would be challenging for importers who market complex consumer products to manage the chemical identity of all chemical substances used in their goods. Regulators have ordinarily supported this procedure and have stated that supply chains are much too complicated to expect finished product manufacturers to be knowledgeable of all chemicals used in their products.
However, the head of the EPA chemicals program, Michal Freedhoff, indicated that the EPA could change its course related to articles. Mr. Freedhoff stated in an annual Product Stewardship Society keynote address that the EPA has the jurisdiction under TSCA to regulate chemicals in fabricated products and finished goods—even if the EPA has not used that authority in the past. Freedhoff also stressed that companies are already required to know what is in their products under current European Union regulations. The implications are very serious for almost every company involved in importing, manufacturing, distributing, or selling finished goods, but Freedhoff did not declare any new regulatory actions from the EPA.
Freedhoff suggested that extending TSCA regulations to articles would not pose a burden as some have claimed since EU regulations already require companies to maintain a level of knowledge concerning chemicals in their products, especially for “substances of very high concern” (SVHC).
Others state that a company that imports or produces a significant number of consumer products could be a monumental undertaking. Importers and product manufacturers should begin to become familiar with TSCA, monitor EPA’s chemical regulations, and be prepared to adapt and respond to the regulations that will impact their products.
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