This year is a reporting year for the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) program under the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Since this report is due only once every four years, reporting triggers and obligations are commonly misunderstood. The intent of TSCA CDR is to enable EPA to maintain a complete inventory of all chemical substances in commerce in the U.S., how those substances are used, and who is exposed to those substances so that they can make better decisions on what substances merit additional study for health or ecosystem risks.
Reporting is required for any entity that introduced a substance into commerce in the U.S. between 2016-2019, by either manufacturing it (through a chemical change) or importing it. In most cases, the threshold for this activity triggering the reporting requirement is 25,000 pounds in any of the years of the reporting period, but for some substances EPA has selected for additional scrutiny, and lower thresholds may apply. Once reporting is triggered for a given substance, all reports must include information on manufacturing or import volumes in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Reporting has evolved over the years with significant updates made for reports due in 2012 and 2016, and this pattern continues with the 2020 report. In March of 2020, EPA issued rule changes that impact the 2020 TSCA CDR report. One of these rule changes was to extend the 2020 reporting deadline from September 30 to November 30.
Many manufacturers and processors misunderstand how reporting is triggered and assume since they aren't a “chemical manufacturer” they don't trigger reporting. It is important to note that the definition of manufacture includes import for this rule. Therefore, companies that process, repackage, or distribute imported material should be evaluating applicability. Additionally, the definition of manufacturing leaves room for applicability interpretation for some typical processing operations like distillation units. The definition of manufacture:
Manufacture means to manufacture, produce, or import, for commercial purposes. Manufacture includes the extraction, for commercial purposes, of a component chemical substance from a previously existing chemical substance or complex combination of chemical substances. (40 CFR 711.3)
Given that this is a less-than-annual reporting requirement with a significantly expanded reporting burden as a result of regulatory changes, the regulated community should budget for additional effort and expenses next year, and start making plans now for successfully gathering and reporting the required data during EPA's reporting window of June 1 through November 30, 2020.
If you are interested in learning more about this reporting obligation and whether you might be subject, Trinity is hosting a complimentary webinar on July 15, register at the link below.
Complimentary Webinar: Get Ready for 2020 TSCA CDR Reporting - Jul 15, 2020 - 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EST/EDT
Finally, be aware that there are many other TSCA requirements aside from CDR reporting, and these are applicable to everyone in the United States. Due to widespread lack of knowledge about TSCA and EPA's increasing TSCA enforcement efforts, we believe this is one of the leading areas of environmental compliance risk at most facilities in the U.S. If TSCA is new to you, if you only know TSCA for the CDR report, or if you would otherwise like to learn more about this regulatory program, please visit Trinity's TSCA page for helpful information and resources.