INSIDE VIEW: Enhanced regulatory cooperation shall guide progress

25 February 2013 23:08  [Source: ICIS news]

INSIDE VIEW: Enhanced regulatory cooperation shall guide progressEditor’s note: This article is an opinion piece, and the views expressed are those of the author and do not represent those of ICIS.

By Cal Dooley, President and CEO,
American Chemistry Council

For nearly 30 years, GlobalChem has been an important venue for industry leaders, the regulatory community and other stakeholders to discuss how we can partner to effectively manage chemicals in commerce. The international presence at this year’s conference is a reminder that we have reached an important juncture for chemicals management and the global economy, and that progress in the decade ahead will depend on the cooperation and partnerships forged this year, both at home and abroad.

On the international front, the US and EU are making preparations to work together to address regulatory barriers that hamper innovation and impede trade. By enhancing regulatory cooperation and eliminating unnecessary tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, we can reduce costs for the business of chemistry – America’s top exporting sector – by at least $2bn (€1.52bn) and pass those savings downstream to businesses that rely on our products. That’s why it’s critical that the US-EU free trade negotiations address opportunities for regulatory cooperation in the chemicals sector.

In addition to ensuring that the benefits of chemistry are realized worldwide, greater regulatory cooperation will improve how chemicals are managed and enhance safety in the US and Europe.

The American Chemistry Council's (ACC) top domestic policy priority is finding a bipartisan solution to modernize the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Consumers, businesses, state and local lawmakers all need to have confidence that the federal regulatory system we put in place works, and that it protects children, families and the environment without creating unnecessary barriers to getting our economy back on track.

In addition to supporting the effort to develop a comprehensive legislative solution to update TSCA, the ACC and our members are implementing enhancements to our Responsible Care program, which has guided environmental, health, safety and security performance and product stewardship for 25 years. Last year, the ACC developed the Responsible Care Product Safety Code. This premier program offers 11 management practices, through which chemical manufacturers can evaluate, demonstrate and continuously improve their product safety performance, while making more information about chemical products available to the public.

We are also working to make our industry even safer for our employees and our communities through an enhanced Process Safety Code. The code promotes safe operations through the entire manufacturing process and complements existing regulatory requirements.

Even as we come together to update TSCA, we must continue to demand that the latest technology and high quality, reliable science be the foundation of our chemical regulatory system. That way, all stakeholders can be assured that decisions are based on credible, transparent and timely assessments, and that they serve their intended purpose – enhancing safety.

The National Academy of Sciences and Congress have laid out a sensible path for improving the scientific foundation of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. The ACC is encouraged by the steps the EPA’s Dr. Ken Olden is taking to increasing the transparency of IRIS assessments and improve stakeholder engagement and input. There is no doubt that more work that needs to be done, and we hope that we can all continue to work together to strengthen the process for assessing chemicals.    

At a time when the US chemical industry is driving real, tangible growth and job creation, TSCA modernization and strengthened international regulatory cooperation will be critical to enhancing safety, fostering innovation, boosting exports and driving real, tangible growth around the world. The ACC is committed to working with all stakeholders to create an effective and predictable regulatory environment that restores public confidence in the safety of chemicals, enables chemical manufacturers to remain competitive globally and ensures that the US can hold on to its position as the world’s leading innovator.

($1 = €0.76)

Author: ICIS staff

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