Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Implementation: How the Amended Law Has Failed to Protect Vulnerable Populations from Toxic Chemicals in the United States

2022-08-18

Exposures to industrial chemicals are widespread and can increase the risk of adverse health effects such as cancer, developmental disorders, respiratory effects, diabetes, and reproductive problems. The amended Toxic Substances Control Act (amended TSCA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate risks of chemicals in commerce, account for risk to potentially exposed and susceptible populations, and mitigate risks for chemicals determined to pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment. This analysis compares EPA’s first 10 chemical risk evaluations under amended TSCA to best scientific practices for conducting risk assessments. We find EPA’s risk evaluations underestimated human health risks of chemical exposures by excluding conditions of use and exposure pathways; not considering aggregate exposure and cumulative risk; not identifying all potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations, and not quantifying differences in risk for susceptible groups; not addressing data gaps; and using flawed systematic review approaches to identify and evaluate the relevant evidence. We present specific recommendations for improving the implementation of amended TSCA using the best available science to ensure equitable, socially just safeguards to public health. Failing to remedy these shortcomings will result in continued systematic underestimation of risk for all chemicals evaluated under amended TSCA.

Authors: Swati D G Rayasam, Patricia D Koman, Daniel A Axelrad, Tracey J Woodruff, Nicholas Chartres
; Full Source: Environmental science & technology 2022 Aug 18. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c02079.