Laws & Regulations

Summary of the Toxic Substances Control Act

15 U.S.C. §2601 et seq. (1976)

The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.

TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.

Various sections of TSCA provide authority to:

  • Require, under Section 5, pre-manufacture notification for "new chemical substances" before manufacture
  • Require, under Section 4, testing of chemicals by manufacturers, importers, and processors where risks or exposures of concern are found
  • Issue Significant New Use Rules (SNURs), under Section 5, when it identifies a "significant new use" that could result in exposures to, or releases of, a substance of concern.
  • Maintain the TSCA Inventory, under Section 8, which contains more than 83,000 chemicals. As new chemicals are commercially manufactured or imported, they are placed on the list.
  • Require those importing or exporting chemicals, under Sections 12(b) and 13, to comply with certification reporting and/or other requirements.
  • Require, under Section 8, reporting and record-keeping by persons who manufacture, import, process, and/or distribute chemical substances in commerce.
  • Require, under Section 8(e), that any person who manufactures (including imports), processes, or distributes in commerce a chemical substance or mixture and who obtains information which reasonably supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture presents a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment to immediately inform EPA, except where EPA has been adequately informed of such information.  EPA screens all TSCA b§8(e) submissions as well as voluntary "For Your Information" (FYI) submissions. The latter are not required by law, but are submitted by industry and public interest groups for a variety of reasons.

Compliance and Enforcement

History of this Act

More Information

The Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) manages programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Pollution Prevention Act. Under these laws, EPA evaluates new and existing chemicals and their risks, and finds ways to prevent or reduce pollution before it gets into the environment.