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Congress Introduces Bipartisan TSCA Bill “Chemical Safety Improvement Act”
(May 2013)

On May 22, 2013, Senators Lautenberg and Vitter introduced a bipartisan bill, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013, in an effort to strengthen existing chemical regulations found under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).The introduction of the bill is an attempt to propose increased regulatory oversight for non-exempt chemicals in the United States, which has remained unchanged under TSCA for 25 years. Senator Vitter believes that the bill “strikes the right balance between strengthening consumer confidence in the safety of chemicals while promoting innovation and growth of an important sector of our economy.”

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act, which is a bipartisan undertaking built on political compromise in the ongoing push for chemical safety in the U.S., seems to have support by both environmental and industry officials. In a
press release issued by The Consumer Specialty Products Association, which represents most consumer products companies in the U.S., its President and CEO says:

“By joining forces with Senator Lautenberg to introduce a bipartisan TSCA bill, Senator Vitter and other members of the U.S. Senate have taken a vital step toward developing a stronger, more effective chemical regulatory program in the U.S. that provides meaningful reform and protects American consumers.”

In another
press release issued by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a public advocacy group with over 11 million members, its Executive Director states:

“Cracking down on harmful chemicals has strong public support across the political spectrum and you see that reflected in this group of Senators. We congratulate them on their work together.”

The new Chemical Safety Improvement Act proposes:

    All chemicals used in commerce must be evaluated for safety and labeled as either “high” or “low” priority based on potential risk to human health
and the environment. For high risk chemicals, EPA must conduct further safety evaluations.

     ▲ If a chemical is found to be unsafe, EPA is given the authority to impose safety requirements or, in some instances, order a full phase-out or
ban of a chemical.

     ▲ EPA is ordered to, with full transparency, prioritize chemicals for rules.

     ▲ New chemicals entering the market must be screened for safety.

     ▲ EPA is authorized to secure health and safety information from manufacturers, but first must rely on existing information to avoid duplicate testing.

     ▲ EPA is required to evaluate the risk of chemicals to children and pregnant women. A new requirement, according to sponsors.

     ▲ States and municipalities are given the opportunity to provide input on prioritization, safety assessment and the safety determination process. Their
suggestions must get a timely response from EPA and there’s a waiver process in which EPA can allow state regulations or laws to remain in effect
when circumstances warrant.

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