Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 6. Environmental Health Services
1/25/2021

Article 9. Toxic Substances Information.

§ 32.1-239. Definitions.

As used in this article the following definitions shall apply:

"Commercial establishment" means any commercial or industrial establishment, mill, factory, plant, refinery and any other works in which any chemical substance is manufactured or used as a raw material, catalyst, final product or process solvent for such; however, this term shall not be construed in the administration of this act to include normal farming and timbering activities.

"Manufacturing" means producing, formulating, packaging or diluting any substance for commercial sale or resale.

"Person" includes, in addition to the entities enumerated in § 32.1-3, the Commonwealth and any of its political subdivisions.

"Toxic substance" means any substance, including any raw materials, intermediate products, catalysts, final products, or by-products of any manufacturing operation conducted in a commercial establishment, that has the capacity, through its physical, chemical or biological properties, to pose a substantial risk of death or impairment either immediately or over time, to the normal functions of humans, aquatic organisms, or any other animal.

Code 1950, § 32-430; 1976, c. 627; 1977, c. 471; 1979, c. 711; 1984, c. 433; 1992, c. 203; 2020, c. 1271.

§ 32.1-240. Department designated state toxic substance information agency.

The State Department of Health is designated as the state toxic substances information agency. The Commissioner of Health may employ, compensate, and prescribe the administrative and clerical duties of such individuals as may be necessary to discharge the responsibilities imposed by this article.

Code 1950, § 32-431; 1976, c. 627; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-241. Powers and duties of Board.

The Board shall:

1. Advise the Governor, other state agencies, the federal government, and local governing bodies on matters pertaining to chemical exposures posing a threat to public health or the environment;

2. Collect from any source, necessary information concerning substances which are toxic in certain concentrations and under certain conditions;

3. Catalogue information on substances that are toxic so that the information can be retrieved quickly for use;

4. Institute proceedings in any appropriate court to compel the production of information concerning substances which are toxic;

5. Review and evaluate the information to be used in making a determination regarding toxicity of any substance and the concentrations and conditions under which the substance is toxic;

6. Disseminate information concerning toxic substances to other state agencies, political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, health professionals, the media, and the public by communicating the risk of chemical exposure through developing and disseminating documents, technical reports, information sheets, advisories, and press releases;

7. Investigate potential human health effects associated with environmental exposures through biomedical studies to address emergency and nonemergency site-specific problems;

8. Develop health risk assessments for specific chemical exposures via air, water, and food; coordinate assessments of such risks with other state agencies through the convening of assessment groups; and submit recommendations to prevent exposure of citizens to toxic substances, including, but not limited to, the closure of bodies of water and advisories relating to food consumption; and

9. Promulgate regulations to specify as necessary the details of the program.

Code 1950, §§ 32-428.1, 32-429; 1976, c. 627; 1977, c. 471; 1979, c. 711; 1982, c. 16; 1992, c. 203; 1995, c. 90.

§ 32.1-242. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1995, c. 90.

§ 32.1-243. State agencies directed to cooperate with and furnish information to Board.

All agencies and institutions of the Commonwealth shall cooperate with the Board and, on request, furnish to the Board all information in their possession concerning toxic substances.

Code 1950, § 32-434; 1976, c. 627; 1979, c. 711; 1992, c. 203.

§ 32.1-244. Duty of operators to report knowledge of toxicity; retention and return of certain information; diagnosis of employee injuries and illnesses.

Each person who operates a commercial establishment that uses as a raw material, catalyst, final product or process solvent or manufactures any chemical or mixture in a manner that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is toxic and under the circumstances of its manufacture or use may pose a substantial threat to human health or to the environment shall have the affirmative duty to report that information to the Board within five days of receiving it.

In discharging this duty to report, each person shall have the further affirmative duty to make reasonable inquiry into the toxicity of any substance. Any knowledge of toxicity that is possessed by an employee or agent of the person, or by the holder of any patent under which the person is licensed to produce such substance, shall be attributed to that person if the person actually received that knowledge or, in the exercise of due diligence of such person, should have received that knowledge. Any knowledge of toxicity that is possessed by any consultant or independent contractor, who has been retained by the person to perform any evaluation or other task which involves any such substance, shall be attributed to the person if such person actually received that knowledge or, in the exercise of due diligence by such person, should have received that knowledge.

Except as provided in this section, the Board shall not require any reports by operators of commercial establishments to be filed pursuant to this article unless the Board can demonstrate that the report is necessary to prevent or lessen an imminent risk of injury to public health or the environment.

Each person who operates a commercial establishment in which any chemical is manufactured or is used as a raw material, catalyst, final product or process solvent shall direct each of his employees to a physician for diagnosis of any injury or illness of any kind whatever that the person knows, or reasonably should know, may be caused by such chemical. Nothing in this article shall be deemed, however, to authorize or require physical examination or medical treatment for any person who objects thereto on religious grounds.

The Department shall make reasonable efforts to return all confidential business information filed pursuant to this article to the owner or operator of the business that reported it; however, if the business no longer exists or the owner or operator cannot be located, the Department may retain the confidential information under the same terms and conditions of confidentiality existing prior to July 1, 1992, or, at the discretion of the Commissioner, purge and destroy such information.

Code 1950, § 32-435.1; 1977, c. 471; 1979, c. 711; 1982, c. 16; 1984, c. 433; 1992, c. 203.

§ 32.1-244.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1992, c. 203.

§ 32.1-245. Toxic substances.

The Board shall advise the General Assembly and the Governor as to all matters relating to toxic substances in the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 32-438; 1976, c. 627; 1979, c. 711; 1984, c. 433; 1992, c. 203; 2008, c. 671.