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TSCA Reform Bills Introduced in House and Senate (Updated April 2011)

On April 14, 2011, Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011” to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).

The recent introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 from the Senate and the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 from the House of Representatives would bring widespread reform to the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).

From the Senate, the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010”  would require safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and would require the industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order stay on the market. Under current policies, the EPA can only call for safety testing after evidence demonstrates a chemical is dangerous. Consequently, EPA has required testing for 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently registered in the U.S. and has banned five as dangerous substances. The new legislation would give EPA more authority to require manufacturers to submit safety data for every chemical in production and any new chemical seeking to enter the market.

From the House, the discussion draft of the “Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010” would increase EPA’s authority to regulate risks from exposure to toxic chemicals by allowing EPA to compel testing by the chemical industry.  The Act would require the chemical industry to submit data to EPA, and ensure that information submitted to EPA is not improperly withheld from public disclosure.  The Act would also establish a program to investigate possible vulnerabilities of children to chemicals, create market incentives for safer alternatives to existing chemicals, and examine possible public exposures to toxic chemicals in certain “hot spot” locations. The Act would also provide EPA the necessary resources it needs to comply with this Act.

Update: On February 3, 2011, the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health held a TSCA reform hearing entitled “Assessing the Effectiveness of U.S. Chemical Safety Laws.” During this hearing witnesses representing EPA, the environmental community, chemical companies and trade associations gave remarks, and Senator Lautenberg hopes to move forward with TSCA reform during this 112th Congress. To view the Senate subcommittee website for the hearing and download witness testimonies, click here.

Update: On April 14, 2011, Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011” to modernize TSCA. Lautenberg, the chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, is attempting to require chemicals manufacturers to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals used in everyday household products. The “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011” would require safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and puts the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order to bring – and keep – a product on the market. The new legislation would give EPA more power to regulate the use of dangerous chemicals and require manufacturers to submit information proving the safety of every chemical in production and any new chemical seeking to enter the marketplace.

Key Points of the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011”

▲ Requires manufacturers to develop and submit a minimum data set for each chemical they produce. While the bill would give EPA authority to require
any data needed to determine safety of a chemical, there are provisions that would ensure that no duplicative or unnecessary testing occurs, and that
EPA accepts and encourages the use of quick, low-cost, non-animal tests that provide high quality data.
▲ Calls on EPA to categorize chemicals based on risk, and place them into three classes: immediate risk management, safety standard determination and
no immediate action.
▲ Requires EPA to take fast action to minimize the risk of chemicals that have been proven dangerous, and gives EPA authority to respond quickly to
chemicals that pose imminent hazard.
▲ Establishes a public database that will house both chemical information submitted to EPA and decisions made by EPA about chemicals.
▲ Establishes grant programs and research and research centers to foster the development of safe chemical alternatives, and brings some new chemicals
onto the market using an expedited review process.

Full text of the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011” click
here.

Summary of the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011” click here.

For more information, please Contact TSG.
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