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January 28, 2021

Lynn L. Bergeson and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. Quoted in Chemical Watch Article “TSCA implementation may be ‘significantly different’ under Biden”

The ACTA Group

On January 28, 2021, Chemical Watch featured comments by Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, B&C regarding changes to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) under Biden.

“TSCA implementation and interpretation could be significantly different” under the new administration, Lynn Bergeson, managing partner at Bergeson & Campbell, told Chemical Watch.


Ms. Bergeson agreed that there is enough ambiguity in the rule to allow for different policy interpretations. “Any dramatic shift would elicit a wide range of responses, including judicial review,” she said.

The possibility of the administration locking in its policy changes through a formal rulemaking should not be ruled out, however.


The EPA finalised its first ten risk evaluations over the last eight months, ahead of President Biden’s inauguration on 20 January. Nevertheless, there may be room to revisit some of the findings made by the previous administration, either through reopening or supplementing the existing evaluations.

Litigation over four of those evaluations – methylene chloride, HBCD, asbestos and 1,4-dioxane – could also see courts directing the EPA to revise its work, or the agency reaching a settlement with plaintiffs to do so.

But with finite resources and tight statutory deadlines, reexamining those chemicals would not be an easy task.

The agency is in “a tough spot” with the first ten chemicals, said Richard Engler, director of chemistry at Bergeson & Campbell. It has only one year from publication of each of its final risk evaluations to propose risk management rules, and one more year to finalise them.

“If EPA somehow ‘pulls back’ the first ten, redoing those will delay, perhaps substantially, risk management actions,” he said.

This would come on top of the agency’s ongoing effort to evaluate the risks posed by a set of 20 prioritised substances, in addition to a handful of substances nominated by industry.

“Anything that EPA seeks to redo from the first ten will have to compete for resources with the ‘next 20’ and the manufacturer-requested risk evaluations,” said Dr. Engler.

Environmental groups and state attorneys general, meanwhile, have already begun to press the EPA to revise scope documents or issue ‘problem formulations’ for the next batch of substances undergoing review. If heeded, this could monopolise still more resources.

The EPA has been recruiting more staff to support its work. But this process “takes time and the new hires are probably not very experienced in TSCA risk evaluations, so [they] will need time to learn,” said Dr Engler, who spent close to two decades at the EPA.

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