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New Plastics Bill Would Require US EPA Action Under TSCA

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As interest in regulating the production and use of plastics continues to grow, users of chemicals related to plastics should take note of the newly proposed “Protecting Communities from Plastics Act,” introduced in Congress on December 1, 2022 (the Act).  The Act is intended to identify potential health effects of certain plastics, limit their production, and set nationwide reduction targets.  It would also require EPA to review and potentially to regulate under TSCA the component chemicals in many plastics. 

The Act proposes aggressive action to reduce the environmental and health effects of plastics, including deadlines for nationwide phaseouts of single-use plastics, strict reuse targets, more stringent emissions standards and effluent limits for covered facilities, a temporary permitting moratorium and mandatory consideration of environmental justice concerns in permitting. With respect to TSCA, the Act would require EPA to make final prioritization determinations for styrene, including polystyrene, and vinyl chloride, including polyvinyl chloride. This means that EPA would be required to determine whether the substances are high-priority or low-priority.  Prioritization determinations are conducted through notice-and-comment rulemaking.  If the substances are designated as high-priority, the agency must conduct risk evaluations and regulate any unreasonable risks posed by use of the substances.



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