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July 23, 2010

House Introduces TSCA Reform Legislation

The ACTA Group

Last evening, Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL), Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 (H.R. 5820) (TCSA), which is intended to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bill is different in key respects from the House Discussion Draft circulated by Representatives Rush and Waxman on April 15, 2010 — better in some instances and worse in others. On balance, the bill poses considerable and perhaps insurmountable challenges for the chemical community and its downstream customers. Next week Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. will provide a more detailed, substantive assessment of the legislation, including a comparison to Senator Frank R. Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 (S. 3209).

According to the House Committee, the bill would:

  • Establish a framework to ensure that all chemical substances to which the American people are exposed will be reviewed for safety and restricted where necessary to protect public health and the environment;
  • Require the chemical industry to develop and provide to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) essential data, and improve EPA’s authority to compel testing where necessary;
  • Ensure that non-confidential information submitted to EPA is shared with the public and that critical confidential information is shared among regulators, with states, and with workers in the chemical industry;
  • Establish an expedited process for EPA to reduce exposure to chemical substances that are known to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic;
  • Create incentives and a review process for safer alternatives to existing chemicals, promoting innovation and investment in green chemistry;
  • Create a workforce education and training program in green chemistry, promoting and ensuring long-term viability of American jobs;
  • Encourage the reduction of the use of animals in chemical testing;
  • Allow EPA to exempt chemicals already known to be safe from requirements of the TCSA;
  • Promote research to advance understanding of children’s vulnerability to the harms of chemicals;
  • Direct EPA to address community exposures to toxic chemicals in certain “hot spot” locations;
  • Require EPA to engage in international efforts to control dangerous chemicals;
  • Ensure that EPA actions are transparent, open to public comment, and subject to judicial review, without unreasonable procedural burdens; and
  • Give EPA the resources needed to carry out the TCSA.

More information is available online.