January 14, 2021

EPA and OSHA to Collaborate on Review of New Chemicals

EPA and OSHA announced on Jan. 12 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that describes the agencies’ agreement to work together to protect workers who may be exposed to new chemical substances, as defined by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The MOU is intended to help EPA and OSHA “achieve a common goal of ensuring workers are protected from potential risks,” EPA’s website explains. The agreement provides guidelines for communication between EPA and OSHA related to TSCA Section 5, which outlines what EPA must do when a new chemical notice is submitted.

Although it is EPA’s responsibility to make risk determinations pertaining to new chemical substances or significant new uses of chemicals, EPA often communicates with OSHA to obtain input on occupational exposures. The new MOU designates points of contact for staff and management from each agency to discuss and resolve workplace exposure issues related to EPA’s review of new chemicals, and documents EPA’s role in notifying OSHA of the need for formal consultation on EPA’s review of new chemicals. The agreement is also intended to ensure that OSHA is provided with regular updates on EPA’s new chemical determinations, including any necessary worker protection identified during agency review.

More information can be found in the official MOU document (PDF) and EPA’s press release announcing the agreement.