Toxic Substance Control Act

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TOXIC SUBSTANCE CONTROL ACT (TSCA), signed by President Gerald Ford on 11 October 1976, gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the power to track industrial chemicals produced in the United States. The act grew out of federal legislation originally proposed in 1971 by the President's Council on Environmental Quality. The council's report, "Toxic Substances," identified a need for legislation to identify and control chemicals whose manufacture, processing, distribution, or disposal was potentially dangerous and yet was not adequately regulated under other environmental statutes. Both houses of Congress passed legislation in the Ninety-second and Ninety-third sessions, but the controversy over the scope of chemical screening stalled final passage of legislation until 1976.

Under the act the EPA screens industrial chemicals and can require the reporting or testing of those chemicals which may pose an environmental or human health hazard. The act also grants the EPA the authority to ban the manufacturing or import of industrial chemicals which pose an unreasonable risk. The EPA is further responsible for tracking the thousands of new industrial chemicals that are developed each year with either unknown or dangerous characteristics and for controlling them as necessary to protect human health and the environment. Manufacturers and processors of chemicals may be required under the act to conduct and report the results of tests to determine the effects of potentially dangerous chemicals on living things.


Bergeson, Lynn L. "TSCA: The Toxic Substances Control Act" Chicago: Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, American Bar Association.

Davies, J. Clarence "Determining Unreasonable Risk Under the Toxic Substances Control Act" Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation, 1979.

Druley, Ray M., and Girard L. Ordway. The Toxic Substances Control Act. Rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Affairs, 1981.

Shira M.Diner

See alsoConsumer Protection ; Environmental Protection Agency ; Food and Drug Administration .