Think tank: US chemical sector welcomes bipartisan TSCA reform bill

31 May 2013 09:36  [Source: ICB]

The US chemical industry welcomed a legislative package designed to modernise the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but some were resisting joyful judgement until the gift-wrap is off and the contents are clear.

A bipartisan group of US senators has introduced what was termed a ground-breaking agreement to modernise TSCA, the principal federal law governing chemicals in commerce.

Congress Rex Features

Rex Features

Congress has introduced a bipartisan bill to reform chemical legislation

Senator Frank Lautenberg (Democrat-New Jersey) and Senator David Vitter (Republican-Louisiana) said that the legislation they have crafted - along with input from the chemicals industry, environmentalists and other stakeholders - would "significantly update and improve TSCA".

The bill, titled the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), would for the first time ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety for the public and the environment "while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow and create jobs", the two senators said.

US chemical sector officials have long held that any effort to modernise the 37-year-old TSCA would have to have strong bipartisan support if it were to have any chance of getting approved by both the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-majority House.

American Chemistry Council (ACC) president Cal Dooley said that the CSIA "will put safety first, while also promoting innovation, economic growth and job creation".

Dooley was joined in the statement by Richard Denison, senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), who said the bill "gives the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] vital new tools to identify chemicals of both high and low concern and to reduce exposure to those that pose risks".

The proposed bill "takes a balanced, comprehensive approach to updating the law, which will give consumers more ­confidence in the safety of chemicals, while at the same time encouraging ­innovation, economic growth and job ­creation by American manufacturers", said Dooley.

But the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) was not ready to give CSIA an unchecked endorsement.

AFPM president Charles Drevna commended the efforts to find a bipartisan path to TSCA reform, but was not ready to throw in with the senators just yet.

"We are reviewing the details of the legislation," Drevna said, "and look forward to working with the bipartisan group to ensure that the modernised TSCA is tiered, targeted and risk-based."

By: Joe Kamalick
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