By Lynn L. Bergeson
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 25, 2022, the proposed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) New Chemicals Collaborative Research Program. On March 10, 2022, EPA posted the draft document entitled “Modernizing the Process and Bringing Innovative Science to Evaluate New Chemicals Under TSCA.” The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) proposes to develop and implement a multi-year collaborative research program focused on approaches for performing risk assessments on new chemical substances under TSCA. On April 26, 2022, the TSCA New Chemicals Coalition (NCC) submitted comments to EPA expressing strong support for EPA’s proposed update to its approach to review and evaluate new chemicals under TSCA Section 5:
- Research Area 1 -- Update and Refine Chemical Categories: The NCC suggests that EPA develop an Integrated Approach to Testing and Assessment (IATA) for each category, and that the IATA include New Approach Methodologies (NAM) both to set boundaries and to provide a tiered approach for testing;
- Research Area 2 -- Develop and Expand Databases Containing TSCA Chemical Information: The NCC suggests that EPA include robust chemical structure information that is searchable by substructure and Markush representations, as appropriate, in the database. The NCC agrees that using IUCLID and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) harmonized templates would be an efficient way to curate the data and would contribute to interoperability with other data systems (especially as data are transported from other regions that rely upon IUCLID);
- Research Area 3 -- Develop and Refine Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship and Predictive Models: The NCC suggests that EPA evaluate whether other existing models may serve EPA’s needs. The NCC also suggests that EPA update E-FAST with additional site-specific stream flows;
- Research Area 4 -- Explore New Ways to Integrate and Apply NAMs: The NCC strongly supports expanding the use of NAMs in the assessment of new chemicals. The NCC also strongly suggests that EPA develop and enforce internal policies about in vivo testing of irritating and corrosive substances; and
- Research Area 5 -- Develop a TSCA New Chemicals Decision Support Tool: The NCC supports developing such a decision support tool, but refers EPA to this function within IUCLID. The NCC supports improved transparency on risk assessments and suggests that EPA separate boilerplate explanations of hazard, exposure, and risk from the unique assessment results.
More information on EPA’s draft document is available in our March 14, 2022, memorandum.