EPA completes review of chemical approval backlog

EPA completes review of chemical approval backlog
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed its review of the 600 new chemicals that were awaiting government approval when Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact Top EPA official under investigation in document destruction EPA rolls back rule on waste from coal-fired power plants MORE took office in February.

Pushing the chemicals through the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) approval process had been a key goal for Pruitt. In a statement on Monday, he said the agency’s “backlog of new chemical review is eliminated.”

“With the ongoing commitment of the staff working on TSCA reviews, and input from stakeholders, our goal is to ensure a new chemicals program that is both protective of human health and the environment, while also being supportive of bringing new chemicals to market,” he said.

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An update to the TSCA law, signed by President Obama last year, was designed to speed up the approval process for commercial chemicals.

The EPA reviews about 1,000 new chemicals per year, and the updated law sets a specific approval timeline for those chemicals. The law envisions that at any given time, the EPA is reviewing about 300 chemicals, and the agency said Monday it’s currently processing 308.

The agency said it's working to tweak the chemical approval process even more. The EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics will release a plan this fall to “provide the public with more certainty and clarity regarding how EPA makes new chemical determinations and what external information will help facilitate these determinations.”