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U.S. House Vote Passes TSCA Reform Legislation (June 2015)

On June 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) in a nearly unanimous vote of 398-1. This vote comes months after U.S. Senators David Vitter and Tom Udall introduced a major bipartisan bill in efforts to update the widely outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bill went through several drafts to achieve bipartisan support. A summary of the amendments in the passed bill includes:

    ▲ Industry-requested risk evaluations must be submitted in a format established by EPA.

    ▲ EPA required to complete industry-requested risk evaluations in two (2) years.

    ▲ If EPA receives more industry-requested evaluations than it has the ability to process, EPA can delay action until resources are available (note that EPA
       cannot collect fees for delayed evaluations).

    ▲ The “grandfather” provision for certain state and local actions applies to an “action taken or requirement that takes effect.”

For unreasonable risk determinations, EPA must propose regulations within one (1) year and issue a final decision in two (2) years.

Fees can be collected only in the amount provided in advance by appropriation bills.

Fees will be used only in administering the regulatory mandates of TSCA for which they were collected.

Consideration of costs and other non-risk factors do not apply in risk evaluations and determinations.


PREVIOUS (March 2015)

U.S. Senators David Vitter and Tom Udall introduced a major bipartisan legislation to strengthen safeguards against hazardous chemicals and dramatically improve the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is widely considered to be an ineffective and outdated chemical regulatory program. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act has been created as a result of nearly two years of collaboration with stakeholders, affected communities and bipartisan lawmakers. The bill was introduced with 16 cosponsors, including eight Democrats and eight Republicans.

The bill proposes a transparent and uniform federal system to regulate the safety of chemicals based on the latest science, which will assure more regulatory certainty for consumers and the industry. Additionally, the legislation emphasizes the importance of a balance between state and federal roles in chemical safety regulation.

Highlighted Provisions of the Vitter-Udall bill:

Chemical Review & Safety

Ensures that chemical safety decisions are determined solely on risk to public health and the environment, not costs and potential benefit;

    ▲ Eliminates TSCA’s “least burdensome” requirements, which prevented EPA from banning asbestos;

    ▲ Requires that all chemicals in commerce, including those “grandfathered” in under TSCA, undergo a safety review;

    ▲ Requires safety findings before a new chemical can enter the market; and
in alignment with OSHA HCS; and

    ▲ Strengthens deadlines for the EPA to evaluate existing chemicals.

Confidential Business Information Claims

Requires that confidentiality claims be substantiated up front;

    ▲ Imposes a 10-year, renewable time limit on Confidential Business Information claims; and

    ▲ Requires EPA to review claims that protect the identities of chemicals in commerce.

Balance of State and Federal Regulations

Grandfathers in State regulations on chemicals enacted prior to January 1, 2015;

    ▲ State can act to restrict a chemical until/unless EPA takes up the same chemical and addresses the same uses; and

    ▲ Includes a waiver process for States to set different regulations than EPA during the safety assessment and after a final rule.

More Information
Overview of Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
Full Proposed Legislation: Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
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