EPA Denies TSCA Section 21 Petition Seeking the Elimination of Hazardous Chemicals Used in Mixtures in Cosmetics
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On November 17, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of its response to an August 16, 2021, petition filed under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 86 Fed. Reg. 64129. William D. Bush requested that EPA determine that the “chemical mixtures contained within cosmetics present an unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment,” and issue a rule or order under TSCA to “eliminate the hazardous chemicals used in mixtures [in cosmetics].” EPA states that after “careful consideration,” it has denied the petition. EPA notes that TSCA Section 3(2)(B) excludes “cosmetic” from the definition of “chemical substance” when manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce for use as a cosmetic. Cosmetics, and any combination of chemicals contained therein, are thus not chemical substances under TSCA when manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce for use as a cosmetic. EPA states that to the extent the petition seeks a TSCA Section 6 action on “cosmetics” when manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce as cosmetics, the requested actions are not within its jurisdiction under TSCA. In addition, according to EPA, to the extent the petition seeks action on “chemical substances” within the TSCA Section 3(2) definition of that term, EPA finds that the petition did not set forth facts establishing that it is necessary for EPA to initiate an appropriate proceeding pursuant to TSCA Section 21. In particular, according to EPA, the petition did not identify the disposal of any particular chemical substance(s) or mixture(s) that could support a determination of unreasonable risk to the environment and, therefore, did not set forth sufficient facts establishing that it is necessary to issue a TSCA Section 6(a) rule addressing cosmetic disposal.