Monthly Archives: May 2015

TSCA reform legislation: Consideration of costs and other non-risk factors

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

Part 1              Part 2              Part 3              Part 4              Part 5

[NOTES:  (1) This post reflects the latest versions of TSCA reform legislation:

(2) All of the earlier posts in this series have been updated to reflect these latest versions.]

This is the fifth 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 costs and other non-risk considerations factor into safety and regulatory risk management decisions.   Read More »

Posted in Health policy, Regulation, TSCA reform / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

EDF statement on the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Markup of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015

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

The revised House TSCA discussion draft is another sign that chemical safety reform is set to move this Congress. We thank the members of the Committee for their continued bipartisan work. EDF looks forward to working with all Members of Congress to ensure that the final legislation the President signs into law establishes a strong overall system of protection from dangerous chemicals, and provides for timely safety reviews for all new and existing chemicals against a purely health-based standard, strong testing authority for EPA, broadened transparency and information access, adequate resources, and robust authority for EPA to regulate chemicals presenting risks to the public.

Posted in Health policy, TSCA reform / Comments are closed

UPDATED: Understanding Preemption in the Lautenberg Act

FRL21 Preemption sidebar UPDATEDRichard Denison, Ph.D., is a Lead Senior Scientist.

[*UPDATED 5-8-15:  This is a new version of an earlier post that I’ve updated to reflect changes made to the preemption provisions in the bill as reported out by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on April 28, 2015.]

By far the most difficult and contentious aspect of the debate over reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the extent of federal preemption of state authority.  The range of positions on this is truly gigantic, from zero preemption at one end of the spectrum to full-field preemption effective upon enactment (the position espoused by some in industry).

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697) has landed somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, with some stakeholders saying it still goes too far and others saying not far enough.  And wherever you land on that question, it should be acknowledged that preemption in the bill is more extensive than under current TSCA, but much less extensive than it was in the predecessor to the Lautenberg Act, 2013’s Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding preemption in the Lautenberg Act.  So in this post, I describe how preemption works under the bill, and what is and is not preempted.

In the sidebar is a summary of the key preemption provisions of the Lautenberg Act.  The rest of this post is a deeper dive for those who want one.

Preemption under the Lautenberg Act

The first thing to recognize is that any preemption that applies is always chemical-specific and directly matches the nature and scope of the triggering federal action.  That is, preemption attaches only when EPA acts on the same chemical that has been or would be subject to a state action, and only when EPA considers the need for or takes the same type of action as has been or would be taken by a state.  And preemption is limited to the scope of the EPA action (for example, the specific uses of a chemical considered by EPA).

Outside of these boundaries, states are free to act on chemicals.  The new system would be similar to the current system except when EPA decides a chemical is a high priority and may require federal action.

Below I discuss the major components to the preemption provisions of the Lautenberg Act.

Read More »

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EDF welcomes 14 additional cosponsors of the Lautenberg Act

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

Environmental Defense Fund welcomes today’s announcement that 14 additional Senators – 7 Democrats and 7 Republicans – have cosponsored the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697).  This brings the total number of Senators cosponsoring the legislation to 36, more than a third of the full Senate.

The Lautenberg Act would reform our nation’s badly broken 40-year-old chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans lending their names to this legislation not only affirms strong bipartisan support, but demonstrates Congress’ growing recognition that reform of TSCA is urgent, and that this bill is a solid compromise that represents our best chance in a generation to significantly improve public health protections from toxic or untested chemicals.

Today’s announcement was made possible by a breakthrough in negotiations immediately preceding the April 28 markup of the legislation in the Environment and Public Works Committee, which led the Committee to approve the revised bill on a strong 15-5 bipartisan vote.

Today’s announcement in turn signifies that it is now time to move the legislation to the Senate floor.


Adding their names today to the 22 earlier cosponsors of the Lautenberg Act are:

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. John Isakson (R-GA) Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)


Posted in Health policy, TSCA reform / Tagged | Comments are closed

Evidence grows linking DEHP exposure to reproductive toxicity: What is the state of regulation?

Lindsay McCormick is a Research Analyst.

Phthalates are chemical plasticizers found in a wide array of industrial and consumer products, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping and tubing, cosmetics, medical devices, plastic toys, and food contact materials.  Because phthalates are often not strongly chemically bound to these products, they can leach out of those products and into the environment around us. Given this, it may not be surprising that phthalates and their metabolites can be measured in the bodies of nearly all people tested.

This post reports on important new research on DEHP and summarizes the state of regulation of the chemical in the U.S. and abroad.   Read More »

Posted in Emerging science, Health policy, Health science, Regulation / Tagged , , | Comments are closed