Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.
[NOTE: I am reposting this piece, given that it was first posted during the dog days of August and I don't want those interested to have missed it in digging out from time away from the office. If you have an interest in understanding just how much the Safe Chemicals Act has changed to account for earlier industry concerns, please take the time to look at the analysis I've done comparing the bill to ACC's TSCA Principles.]
You wouldn’t know it from listening to the American Chemistry Council (ACC) talk about the Safe Chemicals Act, but the new and improved version of the bill that was passed out of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on July 25 closely mirrors every detail of ACC’s 10 “Principles for Modernizing TSCA.”.
Those principles, issued in August of 2009, represent a key reference point given that they are virtually the only somewhat detailed public articulation by ACC of its substantive position on TSCA reform, one to which ACC continues to refer today. In describing its principles, ACC says they “create a roadmap to a modern chemical regulatory system that will protect public health and the environment, while preserving the ability of American chemical companies to drive innovation, grow jobs, and compete in the global marketplace.”
ACC indicated in its statement on the revised bill that it only conducted a “cursory review” of the bill language, which perhaps explains why it got even some basics wrong. One example: ACC claims “[t]he bill would also dramatically increase the time it would take for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review new chemicals.” In fact, the revised bill retains the 90-day review period for new chemicals operable under current TSCA.
So how does the bill stack up against ACC’s 10 Principles for TSCA Modernization?
I have developed a detailed 8-page table that shows, side by side, the principles and the new version of the Safe Chemicals Act, with citations to each specific provision of the Act that I reference.
As you’ll see, the alignment is strong – including when one gets well down into the weeds. The alignment is also not all that surprising: The changes made to the Safe Chemicals Act specifically reflected the input received from all stakeholders, including the converging views that have emerged from several industry-NGO dialogues held over the past 18 months.
This all suggests ACC’s complaints are more about politics than about substance. I can only urge those of you who care about this issue to actually read the new bill.
My side-by-side table is available as a PDF file here. And for those of you wanting shorter descriptions of the major changes made to the bill, see these two 2-page factsheets: