01 March 2012 15:43 [Source: ICIS news]
By Joe Kamalick
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--A ?xml:namespace>
A new analysis of Reach by public affairs and environmental specialists at
“It is nonetheless feasible to assess the workability of the Reach system and brainstorm potential applications to the
Environmental proponents of a broadly expanded and tougher TSCA have urged Congress to essentially create a “US Reach” in place of TSCA.
Under the Reach precautionary principle, a chemical product may not enter (or remain in) commerce unless it is proven to be safe. The "no data, no market" rule applies.
In contrast, TSCA is built on a risk-based approach, which considers a substance’s chemical composition, its uses and the potential for human exposure and harm for its prescribed uses.
Environmentalists and many in Congress argue that TSCA has been inadequate to the task, noting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which enforces TSCA, has only rarely restricted a chemical substance.
US chemical producers generally agree that TSCA is badly in need of a complete overhaul, but they warn policymakers that what they consider a draconian Reach-like approach could choke off the crucial
In one of its primary findings, the study suggests that US policymakers should be wary of mimicking so complex a system as Reach.
“Reach is quite complex, both in how regulatory power is distributed in the EU governance structure and in the multiplicity of burdens placed on the chemicals industry,” the analysis said.
“Much of this complexity may not be necessary in the
The study holds that a reformed TSCA should, like Reach, provide for much more public access to information about chemical products, a goal that both the EPA and
Indeed, a set of industry-favoured TSCA reform principles issued by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is not widely at variance, according to the council, with a TSCA reform outline published by the EPA.
“We suggest that reforms to Reach [should] allow priorities for government and industry attention to be less focused on warehousing of data and more focused on protecting human health and the environment,” the authors said.
“For example, the universe of substances covered by registration could be targeted more effectively… directed more at specific, potential risky uses of substances rather than the substances themselves,” the study advised.
This recommendation is in line with US producers’ call for a risk-based approach that focuses on substances with the greatest likelihood of potentially harmful human exposure.
A reform of TSCA, says the study, should provide “more clarity from the outset in the form of a clear and consistent standard of safety throughout the programme, more specific direction for dispute resolution… and early guidance on how information-technology challenges will be met”. The
Lastly, the study urges US policymakers to ensure the maximum use of existing testing and analysis data, including that already produced under Reach. And, as far as is possible, US registration forms under a new TSCA could parallel Reach registrations.
“For example, new formats for data submission in the
It is generally agreed that it is unlikely that the many congressional committees with jurisdiction in the matter can possibly complete work on one and possibly more TSCA reform bills before the end of 2012, especially given that it is an election year.
No serious and substantive progress toward an overall and comprehensive TSCA reform is expected before 2013, perhaps even later.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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