Members of Congress seek consolidation of US chemical testing

16 November 2011 19:53  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Members of the US Congress on Wednesday warned that multiple federal agencies that assess chemical health hazards are driving US composites manufacturers to foreign shores with duplicative, conflicting and costly regulations.

Congressman Joe Wilson (Republican-South Carolina) urged the House Budget Committee to take steps to combine a half-dozen separate federal programmes involved in grading and regulating chemical product hazards – often with erroneous and scientifically flawed results.

“Not only do these redundant programmes lead to wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, but they also are inefficient, contribute to poor science and result in public confusion regarding health risks,” Wilson said.

Wilson wrote to Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin) on behalf of 30 members of Congress who make up the bipartisan congressional composites caucus.

A congressional caucus is a group of legislators who share and act on behalf of a common interest.

Wilson said the composites caucus that he leads represents some 3,000 US companies that employ more than 250,000 workers.

“These small companies often are the victims of duplicate, poorly conducted and contradictory federal chemical hazard assessments to the point where many in this industry are reluctantly considering off-shore sources for their production,” Wilson said.

He said that combining the six regulatory programmes “would not only save money, but a unified, streamlined and well-managed chemical assessment programme would be much more likely to produce scientifically valid health protective standards”.

According to an analysis commissioned by the caucus, the six federal agencies with roles in chemical risk assessments together spend more than $80m (€59m) annually in analysing and regulating various chemicals.

Among them are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“This is an important issue for the Budget Committee,” Wilson said, adding that combining the six separate programmes would cut federal spending and preserve American jobs.

($1 = €0.74)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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