Chemical Data Reporting Errors Could Result in Fines Under TSCA

The importance of timely and accurate chemical data reporting (CDR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was highlighted last week with a $45,000 fine given to a chemical company for not reporting its chemical substance imports within the requested timeframe. This is not an isolated event as there have been civil fines totaling millions of dollars over the last two decades.

As the 2020 CDR reporting cycle approaches, companies will need to review the new and existing reporting requirements; check their 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 production/importation inventories; and prepare reporting data sooner rather than later to avoid future penalties. CDR is just one component of several reporting and recordkeeping requirements under TSCA, and facilities may be subject to audit flags, violations, and fines when reporting is done incorrectly.

Tips for complying with the CDR
It is always a good idea to keep a running tally of production and importation records to facilitate annual summaries, even though CDR reports are due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) every four years. The biggest pitfalls for facilities are typically associated with underreporting, Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) designations, and faulty recordkeeping, so it’s beneficial to:

  • Make sure the correct CAS Registry Numbers are assigned to the chemicals in your tracking system.
  • Pay attention to any “new” chemicals that may need verification with the TSCA Inventory and that could potentially be subject to pre-manufacture or significant new use notifications.
  • Take note of impurities, byproducts, intermediaries, and reaction products in the process, and how spent catalysts are accounted for. Claimed exemptions must be consistent with the rule. The reporting threshold is 25,000 pounds of chemicals per year, but may be lower for certain substances listed in TSCA.

EPA requires detailed processing and use information for the principal reporting year, so the more documentation, the better.

New CDR requirements in 2020
EPA has proposed several changes to the CDR, which are expected to take effect for the 2020 cycle. Even if you reported in the 2016 cycle, the requirements for your facility may be different next year. Some of the proposed changes to the CDR are:

  • Modifying in the definition of the "small entities" that are exempt from reporting
  • Adding exemptions for some byproducts
  • Simplifying reporting by allowing the use of existing Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) processing and use data codes
  • Removing outdated content
  • Consolidating exemptions

Noncompliance penalties
With the reformed TSCA comes a new schedule of statutory civil fines, ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars per violation per day. In addition to civil penalties, EPA can also seek criminal imprisonment for up to one year.

Contact us with your TSCA questions
If your company is facing challenges associated with TSCA reporting and recordkeeping, our team of TSCA experts can provide guidance.

Andrew Pawlisz, D.A.B.T.
Senior Scientist
[email protected]
(720) 399-2003

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Andrew Pawlisz, DABT
Andrew Pawlisz, DABT
Senior Toxicologist, Tulsa, OK

Andrew is a board-certified toxicologist with over 20 years of experience in risk assessment and evaluation; hazard assessment; and regulatory compliance, including the legacy and reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Andrew specializes in finding practical solutions to regulatory and human health/environmental issues related to toxicants.
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