INSIDE VIEW: Toxic substances act needs basis in sound science

22 March 2011 15:45  [Source: ICIS news]

Editor’s note: This article is an opinion piece and the views expressed are those of the author and do not represent those of ICIS.

Cal Dooley
President and CEO
American Chemistry Council

Every year, the Global Chemical Regulations Conference, taking place this week in Baltimore, Maryland, brings together chemical industry professionals, scientific experts and government officials to share best practices and to discuss important issues and trends facing our industry and the nation. This year, our focus will be on ensuring that chemistry continues to be at the forefront of innovations that create jobs, drive economic growth and provide modern solutions to the global challenges ahead.

Chemistry's success in the coming  years depends today on a regulatory framework that fosters innovation and economic growth, while continuing to protect public health, safety and the environment.

That's why, in testimony last month before the US Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics & Environmental Health, I reiterated ACC's strong commitment to constructively engage with Congress and stakeholders to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). A sound, effective TSCA is critical to instilling a stronger sense of trust in the federal government's oversight of chemicals and to promoting growth in nearly every sector of America's economy.

Sound science must be the foundation on which a modern TSCA is built. Both industry and consumers need to have confidence that EPA has a framework in place to ensure that the latest advances in science and technology, proven yet innovative testing methods, and the highest quality data are used in regulatory decision-making.

From there we must craft a program based on the priorities reflected in the 10 principles for a modernized TSCA, which ACC released more than a year and a half ago: safety, efficiency, prioritization, scientific integrity and greater transparency. EPA should continue to use existing authority to make improvements that can be integrated with an updated program and incorporate parts of today's TSCA program that are working well.

Finally, we must learn from the strengths and weaknesses of recently implemented regulatory programs in other countries, such as EU's REACH program.  Many point to REACH as a success, but in fact, REACH is in its infancy.  Neither industry nor the NGO (environmental groups) community has the evidence to tell us yet what the practical implications of REACH will be on chemicals in commerce, although there is ample evidence of its costs.

We have the opportunity to create a scientifically-disciplined, efficient and focused federal chemicals management system. Modernization must be done in a way that allows the chemical industry and our value chain partners to maintain their ability to succeed and grow here in the U.S.

We believe we can strike the right balance. By doing so, we can ensure that America's chemicals management system will protect families and the environment, promote competitiveness, and support jobs throughout the economy.

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