Selected category: TSCA Reform

New chemical reforms are vital to TSCA legislation, says former top official for EPA toxics office

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

In an op-ed published in today’s Roll Call, Dr. Lynn Goldman, Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, makes the case for why TSCA reform legislation needs to include changes to the provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that govern requirements for new chemicals prior to market entry.

The op-ed is notable for two reasons.  First, it addresses a key difference between the Senate and House versions of TSCA reform legislation.  The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697) includes numerous upgrades to Section 5 of TSCA governing new chemicals and significant new uses of existing chemicals.  Dr. Goldman’s op-ed points to the critical improvements the Senate bill would make.  In contrast, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) passed by the House of Representatives would leave Section 5 unchanged.

Second, Dr. Goldman is uniquely qualified to address this issue, having served as Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993 to 1998, overseeing the office that implements TSCA.

Dr. Goldman, a pediatrician, stresses the importance to public health of reforming how EPA reviews and regulates new chemicals prior to their entry into commerce.  These provisions have never been amended since TSCA was adopted nearly 40 years ago.  That’s why it’s a vital element to include in any meaningful reform of our nation’s obsolete chemical safety law.

For more on how the Senate and House TSCA legislation compare, see these earlier posts.

 

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We don’t know how many chemicals are in use today. We should know.

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

No one knows how many chemicals are in use today.  It’s a problem that we don’t.

The TSCA Inventory lists about 85,000 chemicals, but because it is a cumulative list that started in 1979, it lists all chemicals that have been in commerce at some point since then.  It is not a list of chemicals currently on the market.

EPA periodically collects information on chemicals produced or imported above a certain volume threshold (currently set at 25,000 pounds per reporting site in the reporting year).  In the most recent data collected in 2012, companies reported producing or importing 7,700 chemicals.  However, given the volume threshold and the several exemptions from reporting requirements, we know this number is a significant underestimate of the number of chemicals in active commerce.

This means that all we know is that somewhere between 7,700 and 85,000 chemicals under TSCA’s jurisdiction are presently in commerce.  I’ve repeatedly heard industry and environmentalists cite each of these numbers in claims they make about how many chemicals are in use today.  The truth, however, clearly lies somewhere within this huge range.   Read More »

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How the Senate and House TSCA reform bills stack up against the Administration’s Principles for TSCA Reform

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

In September 2009, the Obama Administration issued its Essential Principles for Reform of Chemicals Management Legislation “to help inform efforts underway in Congress to reauthorize and significantly strengthen the effectiveness of TSCA.”  These principles have guided EPA’s testimony and other statements relating to the Senate and House legislative proposals to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Now that the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) has passed the House of Representatives, and the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697) is expected to come to the Senate floor in the coming weeks, I'll use this post to take a look at how each bill stacks up against the Administration’s principles.   Read More »

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A mixed bag: Comparing the preemption provisions of the House and Senate TSCA reform bills

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

There are some clear similarities, and some clear differences, between the preemption provisions of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) and the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), the House and Senate TSCA reform bills.  Without getting too far into the weeds, I’ll use this post to compare and contrast these controversial and complex aspects of the legislation.   Read More »

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And now the gory details: A deep-dive comparison of the Senate and House TSCA reform legislation

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

Yesterday I posted a side-by-side providing a 35,000-foot-level comparison of how the House’s TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) and the Senate’s Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), address the key limitations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

For those left wanting more, available here is a more detailed comparison of the bills relative to TSCA that lines them up on 12 major aspects of reform.

Enjoy!

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Comparing the Senate and House TSCA reform legislation: A side-by-side

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

[UPDATE 6-30-15: I have also posted a detailed side-by-side  comparison of the bills here.]

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576), its bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The Senate is poised to consider its own bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), within the next few weeks.

How would these bills address the key flaws in current TSCA?  The chart below provides a 35,000-foot-level comparison of the two bills.  It's also available as a PDF here.

Side-by-side page 1-4

 

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