On January 27, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a March 27, 2020 regulatory deadline for manufacturers and importers to self-identify if they manufacture or import, or ceased manufacture or import of, any of the 20 high-priority substances about to undergo risk evaluation. Following the March 27, 2020 deadline, EPA will publish a list of companies subject to a mandatory share of the $1.35 million EPA risk evaluation fee. Companies should review whether they are required to self-identify now so as to avoid any penalties associated with missing the deadline.
Tell me more about the high-priority chemical substances
Under section 6(b) of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA performs risk evaluations for chemicals designated as high-priority substances. Companies that manufacture or import the high-priority substances must self-identify to EPA and will be subject to a fee assessment as part of the risk evaluation process. Comprehensive information on the 20 chemicals subject to the fee assessment is listed on EPA’s website. Notably, the list includes a range of chemicals widely used in industry such as 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, several phthalates, and various halogenated compounds.
How do I know if I need to self-identify to EPA by March 27, 2020?
Companies that have manufactured or imported any of the 20 high-priority chemical substances listed here in the last five years must submit notice to EPA. If a company ceased manufacturing a high-priority chemical by March 20, 2019 and submits notice to EPA by March 27, 2020, they will not be subject to the fee assessment.
The EPA issued lists identifying companies believed to manufacture or import each of the 20 high-priority substances. However, even if a company that manufactures or imports any of the identified chemicals is not on the list, they are still required by law to self-identify. The lists are provided in the rule docket by chemical. For example, EPA’s initial list of companies manufacturing formaldehyde can be found here.
It is worth noting that, often, byproducts, impurities, and substances imported as part of an article are exempted from TSCA requirements. However, the March 27, 2020 regulatory deadline atypically and severely includes companies who import any of the high-priority substances as part of an article or manufactures or imports any of the substances as a byproduct or impurity. This is a real challenge since many regulated entities may incorrectly presume that they are TSCA-exempt. In recognition of industry concerns and potential confusion over who is responsible for fee payment and who is not, EPA is considering adding extra time for comments and self-identification.
If a company fails to self-identify as being subject to the fee assessment, or if a company falsely claims to have ceased manufacture or import of a high-priority substance, they may be subject to monetary, civil, and/or criminal penalties.
Need help preparing for the regulatory deadline?
We provide comprehensive TSCA services, including conducting an audit of your records if you are unsure whether you have manufactured or imported one of the high-priority substances since January 27, 2015. We can also assist in determining if you can file a certification to reduce or remove your fee liability.
Andrew Pawlisz, D.A.B.T