President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that reformed the Toxic Control Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA, first passed by Congress in 1976 and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regulates the introduction of new or already existing chemicals in the US. The legislation, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, was supported on bipartisan basis and by industry trade groups, such as the American Chemistry Council (ACC), which represent US-based chemical manufacturers. The legislation provides the EPA with additional tools to review chemicals and increase transparency.
"The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is a historic bipartisan achievement at a time when such achievements are increasingly rare. It is the first major environmental law passed since 1990," said ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley. "Under it, chemical evaluation and regulation will meet new 21st century standards, which will improve the lives of American families, support American manufacturing and bolster US economic growth. Reforming TSCA has been ACC’s top priority since 2008. For the past three years, ACC and our coalition partners, the American Alliance for Innovation (AAI), have worked together to support bipartisan efforts to modernize TSCA in a way that ensures smart, effective chemical regulation. We applaud President Obama for signing this legislation into law, and we are incredibly grateful for the tireless work and unwavering commitment from Senators Inhofe, Vitter, Udall and Markey and Congressmen Shimkus and Pallone to bipartisan TSCA reform.
ACC noted some key provisions of the legislation:
Subjects all new and existing chemicals to an EPA safety review;
Requires the EPA to focus on chemicals that are the highest priorities for full risk-based safety assessments;
Strengthens transparency and the quality of science used to make EPA decisions;
Expands the EPA’s ability to require additional health and safety testing of chemicals;
Allows industry to request that EPA conduct a safety assessment on a specific chemical;
Provides the EPA with a full range of options to address the risks of substances including labeling requirements, use restrictions, phase-outs or other appropriate actions;
Sets aggressive and attainable timelines for the EPA to complete its work;
Promotes cooperation between state and federal regulators while creating a strong national chemical regulatory system, ensuring interstate commerce is not disadvantaged, according to the ACC; and
Protects confidential business information.
Source: American Chemistry Council