Side-by-sides of TSCA, Senate bill and House discussion draft

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

I have updated and made some minor corrections to the summary chart I posted earlier comparing current TSCA to the proposed TSCA reform legislation (Senate bill and House discussion draft) at the 10,000 foot level. It’s displayed below.

In addition, I have prepared a much more detailed side-by-side of the Senate bill and House discussion draft, which I’m posting here as a PDF.

Currently under TSCAUnder the Senate and House proposals
DATA:  Few data call-ins are issued, even fewer chemicals are required to be tested and no minimum data set is required even for new chemicals.Up-front data call-ins for all chemicals would be required.  A minimum data set (MDS) on all new and existing chemicals sufficient to determine safety would be required to be developed and made public.
BURDEN OF PROOF:  EPA is required to prove harm before it can regulate a chemical.Industry would bear the legal burden of proving their chemicals are safe.
SAFETY ASSESSMENT:  No mandate exists to assess the safety of existing chemicals.  New chemicals undergo a severely time-limited and highly data-constrained review.All chemicals, new and existing, would be subject to safety determinations (in the case of certain new chemicals, at some point after entry into commerce).
SCOPE OF ASSESSMENT:  Where the rare chemical assessment is undertaken, there is no requirement to assess exposure to all sources of exposure to a chemical, or to assess risk to vulnerable populations.The safety standard would require the assessment of a chemical to account for aggregate and cumulative exposures to all uses and sources, and to ensure protection of vulnerable populations that may be especially susceptible to chemical effects (e.g., children, the developing fetus) or subject to disproportionately high exposure (e.g., low-income communities living near contaminated site or chemical production facilities).  “Hot spots” would be specifically identified and addressed.
REGULATORY ACTION:  Even chemicals of highest concern, such as asbestos, have not been able to be regulated under TSCA’s “unreasonable risk” cost-benefit standard.  Instead, assessments often drag on indefinitely without conclusion or decision.Chemicals would be assessed against a health-based standard, and deadlines for decisions would be specified.  Chemicals of highest concern would be subject to expedited safety determinations and/or actions to reduce use or exposure to them.
INFORMATION ACCESS:  Companies are free to claim, often without providing any justification, most information they submit to EPA to be confidential business information (CBI), denying access to the public and even to state and local government.  EPA is not required to review such claims, and the claims never expire.All CBI claims would have to be justified up front.  EPA would be required to review them, and only approved claims would stand.  Approved claims would expire after a period of time.  Other levels of government would have access to CBI.
RULEMAKING REQUIREMENTS: To require testing or take other actions, EPA must promulgate regulations that take many years and resources to develop.In addition to the MDS requirement, EPA would have authority to issue an order rather than a regulation to require reporting of existing data or additional testing.
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