Chemicals policy in the US can be made at the federal, state, or local levels. Regulation of chemicals at the federal level is divided among several agencies, in particular the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to some degree the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The EPA regulates the testing and manufacture of chemical substances and their risks in use and disposal; the FDA regulates chemical substances in food, cosmetics, and food contact materials; and the CPSC oversees chemical exposures from consumer products.
The primary federal law that regulates chemicals is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act regulate chemicals in consumer products, such as toys, including labeling requirements for hazardous materials, and restrictions of some chemicals. Chemicals in cosmetics products are regulated under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and food additives are regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) respectively.
In the US new industrial chemicals must undergo a premanufacture review process, whereas there are more limited review requirements for chemicals that are in commerce.
Over the past decade there has been discussion about the efficacy of US federal chemicals policy, resulting in a number of reports that raise concerns about the limitations of TSCA, and propose new regulatory approaches.
States have often been the innovators in developing the environmental and health policies which are then adopted by other states or at the federal level. More about state and local level chemicals policy.