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Guest Blog: The Trouble with the TSCA

March 24, 2010
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Earlier this month, I attended a stakeholders meeting regarding changes in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that affect the ceramic industry. In October 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated its intention to reclassify several categories considered to be “statutory mixtures” for the past 30 years under the TSCA. Included are glass, oxide chemicals, frits, ceramic materials and wares, and portland cement. The agency claims it is simply issuing a clarification, while industry believes that this is a reversal of longstanding regulatory policy that is required to proceed through the rulemaking process.

CerMA recently became involved in this issue and will represent the industry’s point of view, along with SGCDpro and other organizations. The American Chemistry Council is the lead organization opposing this change. Industry believes that the EPA’s position is inconsistent with 30 years of guidance and advice to the industry, and we have submitted evidence to substantiate this. The EPA believes that there have likely been significant changes in the chemical composition of ceramics, frits and related products during this time period.

If the EPA is successful in changing its long-standing position on this issue, literally thousands of ceramic formulations will have to be submitted to the EPA for examination and approval. This will have a far-reaching effect on our industry, increasing costs, decreasing options for manufacturers, decorators and consumers, and clogging an already overwhelmed government agency with thousands of requests for product certification. Once submitted, the EPA would have the option of approving or disapproving the product for sale in the U.S. This action would apply to products imported into the U.S., as well as those manufactured here.

Additional details and discussion will be available at the CerMA meeting in Nashville on April 19. For more information, call (740) 588-0828 or visit www.cerma.org.

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