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Materials of Concern

This page provides an overview of important issues regarding the import of certain materials into the U.S. Each topic is followed by a link to more information, which is available only in English at this time.

Toxics Chemicals Control Act
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 was enacted to provide information about all chemicals and to control the production and of new chemicals that might present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Under TSCA EPA has the authority to track the 75,000 industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the US. EPA repeatedly screens these chemicals and can require reporting or testing of those that may pose an environmental or human-health hazard. Also, EPA can ban the manufacture and import of those chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk. (more information)

EPA regulates both the import and export of pesticides. All pesticides which are intended to be used in the U.S. must first be registered with EPA prior to import. All pesticide imports must be accompanied with a completed Notice of Arrival (NOA) form. The NOA indicates the identity and amount of the product, the arrival date, and where the product can be inspected. (more information)

Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes, including children's products. Lead also can be emitted into the air from motor vehicles and industrial sources, and lead can enter drinking water from plumbing materials. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk. (more information)

Ozone Depleting Substances
An ozone-depleting substance (ODS) is a chemical substance that has been shown to destroy stratospheric ozone. These substances are commonly found in aerosol products, foams, and fire extinguishers, and are used as refrigerants and in air-conditioning and cooling equipment. Regulations regarding production and importing/exporting of ozone depleting substances are found in Title VI of the Clean Air Act. These rules include the phase-out of production and imports of specific substances. (more information)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the importation of soils for purposes of controlling biological contaminants (i.e., living organisms like diseases and pests). The regulation of soil imports (or exports) for other kinds of contamination (e.g., toxic chemicals) would depend on the soil's contamination level's. (more information)

Soils include mixes of inorganic and organic materials, when the organic materials are unidentifiable plant and/or animal parts. This mixture can support biological activity and therefore carry and introduce harmful pests or diseases. Examples of soil are: Topsoil, forest litter, wood or plant compost, humus, and earthworm castings.

Microorganisms are subject to the same general requirements as chemical substances under Toxic Chemical Control Act (TSCA). TSCA covers any new or existing commercial chemical substances, mixtures, and articles unless they are specifically exempted by the Act. Import of a microorganism is subject to the notification provisions of TSCA. (more information)

Scrap Metals
Scrap metal recycling is an increasingly international industry. Worldwide, recycled scrap metal is one of the most broadly traded commodities, representing a multibillion-dollar industry. International metal processing industries are very concerned about the importation of scrap metal contaminated by radioactivity. (more information)