EDF Health

TSCA reform legislation: Confidential business information

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

Part 1              Part 2              Part 3              Part 4              Part 5

[UPDATE 4-29-15:  On April 28, 2015, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a revised version of the Lautenberg Act out of the committee on a bipartisan 15-5 vote.  The new bill made a few revisions to a provision discussed in this post; see update below.]

[UPDATE 5-17-15:  On May 14, 2015, the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy passed a revised version of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 out of the subcommittee on a bipartisan 21-0 vote.  The new draft made a significant revision to one of the provisions discussed in this post; see update dated 5-17-15 below.]

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts looking at less talked-about, but critically important, elements of bipartisan legislative proposals to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This post deals with how EPA would address industry claims for protection of confidential business information (CBI) pertaining to chemicals, and disclosure of CBI to various parties.  The discussion is divided into three parts, addressing:  (1) CBI claims for chemical identity, (2) access to health and safety information and (3) duration of CBI claims.

Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged , | Comments are closed

Behind the Label: the Blueprint for Safer Chemicals in the Marketplace

Boma Brown-West is a manager on EDF’s Supply Chain Team within the Corporate Partnerships Program.

If you’re in the business of using chemicals to make consumer products – things like shampoo or baby lotions, spray cleaners or laundry soap – the last few years have likely been anything but dull. State legislatures have been passing laws restricting certain chemicals from products; consumers are demanding more transparency about product ingredients; and some of the nation’s biggest retailers, including Walmart and Target, have issued chemical policies of their own.

Read More »

Posted in Industry Influence, Markets and Retail| Comments are closed

TSCA reform legislation: How chemicals are selected for safety evaluations

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

Part 1              Part 2              Part 3              Part 4              Part 5

[UPDATE 4-29-15:  On April 28, 2015, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed a revised version of the Lautenberg Act out of the committee on a bipartisan 15-5 vote.  The new bill made a few revisions to provisions discussed in this post; see updates below.]

[UPDATE 5-17-15:  On May 14, 2015, the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy passed a revised version of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 out of the subcommittee on a bipartisan 21-0 vote.  The new draft made several revisions to provisions discussed in this post; see updates dated 5-17-15 below.]

This is the third in a series of blog posts looking at less talked-about, but critically important, elements of bipartisan legislative proposals to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This post deals with how EPA would select which chemicals would undergo safety evaluations.

Under current TSCA, EPA has no mandate to review the safety of existing chemicals. There are no pacing requirements, such as specifying minimum numbers of chemicals to be examined.  The law provides no criteria for EPA to use in identifying chemicals that may pose risks.  There are no requirements for EPA to establish goals for reviews or schedules for any reviews it does undertake.

Safety reviews are rarely undertaken, and often consume many years (or even decades) – in large part because there are no mandates or deadlines.  As a result of these aspects of the current law, only about 2% of the chemicals that were on the market at the time TSCA was enacted have undergone any sort of safety review.

In 2012, EPA on its own initiative undertook a prioritization process that has led to identification of about 90 so-called “work plan” chemicals, for which EPA is conducting or intends to conduct risk assessments; five have been completed to date.

How would TSCA reform legislation identify chemicals to be subjected to safety reviews?   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged , | Comments are closed

TSCA reform legislation: EPA review of new chemicals

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

Part 1              Part 2              Part 3              Part 4              Part 5

[UPDATE 5-17-15:  On April 28, 2015, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a revised version of the Lautenberg Act out of the committee on a bipartisan 15-5 vote.  On May 14, 2015, the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy passed a revised version of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 out of the subcommittee on a bipartisan 21-0 vote.  The new versions made no significant changes to the new chemicals provisions discussed below.]

This is the second in a series of blog posts looking at less talked-about, but critically important, elements of bipartisan legislative proposals to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This post deals with EPA authority to review new chemicals prior to their entry into commerce.

TSCA divided the universe of chemicals into two groups:  “Existing chemicals” are those on the market at the time the first TSCA Inventory was established (1979), numbering some 62,000 chemicals.  These chemicals were grandfathered in by the original law, with no mandate for them to be tested or reviewed for safety.  “New chemicals” are those that entered commerce at some point since 1979, numbering some 23,000 chemicals.  Between 500 and 1,000 new chemicals enter commerce in a typical year.  (Given these large numbers, it’s surprising how relatively little focus there has been on the way bipartisan reform proposals would address new chemicals.  I’ll amplify on this point at the end of this post.)   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged , | Read 1 Response

TSCA reform legislation: Enhancing EPA testing authority

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

Part 1              Part 2              Part 3              Part 4             Part 5

[UPDATE 5-17-15:  On April 28, 2015, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a revised version of the Lautenberg Act out of the committee on a bipartisan 15-5 vote.  On May 14, 2015, the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy passed a revised version of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 out of the subcommittee on a bipartisan 21-0 vote.  The new versions made no significant changes to the testing provisions discussed below.]

While most of the attention around legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has focused on the issue of preemption, it’s important not to lose sight of how new legislation would address fundamental problems in the current law.  This post will be the first in a series examining flaws in TSCA and how recent bipartisan reform proposals would address them.

The Lautenberg Act, S. 697, is the bipartisan TSCA reform legislation introduced in the Senate in March.  A bipartisan process has also begun in the House, leading to last week’s release of a discussion draft of “The TSCA Modernization Act of 2015.”  In this series of posts, I’ll describe how each of these legislative vehicles would address the specific problematic area of the current law I’m discussing.

First up, EPA testing authority.   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged , | Comments are closed

What’s our best chance of ensuring chemical safety?

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

The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) created the serious problem we face today when it grandfathered in all chemicals in use at the time without requiring any safety testing or reviews.  Nearly 40 years on, we have a daunting task ahead of us to establish a new system that is accountable for the safety of chemicals.  It is essential that we get started as soon as possible.

The Lautenberg Act, which would require safety reviews of all chemicals in commerce, represents a fundamental change in our country’s chemicals policy:  it turns us away from the passive system under current law that simply assumes chemicals are safe and toward an active system that requires evidence of safety for chemicals to get or stay on the market.  It’s a huge paradigm shift, which won’t happen overnight, but is likely to have far-reaching consequences.   Read More »

Posted in Health Policy, States, TSCA Reform| Tagged | Read 1 Response
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