Vanderbilt Law Review


Kevin Gaynor

First Page



The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or the Act),' which was signed into law in October of 1976, originated in a 1971 report by the Council of Environment Quality (CEQ). The CEQ report reviewed the problems presented by toxic chemicals and concluded...

that existing regulation was fragmented and inadequate. The report pointed out the need for authority requiring the testing of chemicals to determine their health and environmental effects, restricting the use and distribution of some chemicals when necessary to protect human health and the environment, and providing for development of adequate data on the environmental and health effects of chemicals. During the Ninety-second and Ninety-third Congresses, the Senate and House each passed toxic substances legislation based upon the CEQ report. The Senate and House could not work out differences between the two bills, however, and the legislation died at the conclusion of each session. The major point of contention concerned controls upon the entry into commerce of new chemicals. A reading of section 5 of the TSCA, which deals with new chemicals, reveals the tortured compromise the conferees developed to reconcile the two houses' views...

This Article will examine the attributes of TSCA mentioned above and, in addition, will attempt to provide a detailed analysis of this complex legislation. In particular, the Article will guide the reader through the Act's provisions from the initial determination that a new or existing chemical creates an unreasonable risk (a determination that triggers the Administrator's regulatory authority) to the criminal and civil penalties that may be imposed for non-compliance with statutory requirements. This analysis will include inquiry into the nature of the Act's judicial review provisions, the concept of data development, the various regulatory options and requirements of TSCA, its enforcement provisions, and finally, the relationship of TSCA to other laws.