Click the tabs to read our position on current law and proposed legislation.
Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
The House passed an amended version of H.R. 2576 on May 24, 2016. On June 7, 2016, the Senate passed the bill and on June 22, 2016, President Obama signed it into law, marking the end of a very long and difficult process. The final bill gives EPA important new powers to require chemical testing and to take action to restrict priority chemicals. The pace will be slow, however, and the bill has other limitations. It is important for the public to remain engaged as EPA implements the new reforms.
- Abbreviated Guide to the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
- Our August 2016 coalition letter recommending the first ten chemicals the EPA should evaluate
- Our Director’s blog analyzing the May 20 Rules Committee print of H.R. 2576
- The letter from our coalition to Congressional leadership outlining our concerns with the House and Senate bills
- Our Director’s blog discussing the conference of the House and Senate bills
- Former EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Sussman’s dissection of provisions on new chemicals
- SCHF/NRDC Fact Sheet on S.697 and Imported Products
- Analysis of preemption issues in the House and Senate bills
Toxic Substances Control Act
The connection between common chemicals and health problems such as infertility, cancer, learning disabilities, and autism has brought the public’s attention to the failure of U.S. chemical policy.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the one major environmental law from the 1970’s that never got off the ground.
It passed in 1976 and has never been reauthorized. The classic story of TSCA’s failure is that the EPA spent the 1980s preparing a rule on asbestos but it was thrown out of court in 1991. That was that. The message was: if you can’t use this law to deal with something as notorious as asbestos, what COULD you do with it? They stopped trying. EPA has restricted only 5 chemicals under TSCA.
Nearly forty years later, we now have 84,000 chemicals in commerce with no health and safety information for the vast majority of them, and marked increases in chronic health problems linked to chemical exposures.
States haven’t waited for Congress to act. Thirty-four states have responded by passing chemical restrictions of some kind. Major retailers like Target and Walmart and major manufacturers are starting to restrict hazardous chemicals. Europe reformed its own policy years ago, setting the global standard (REACH) to which the world now looks.
For Congress to make progress on this critical issue, protecting public health has to be front and center.
Read and download our factsheet on TSCA.
EPA’s first major decision under the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform law is the choice of which chemicals to review first. The law requires that the agency choose at least ten chemicals from its existing Work Plan list within 180 days of enactment.
This morning, President Obama will sign H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, into law. The legislation to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) passed the Senate earlier this month.
Now that the final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill is on the President’s desk, it is a good time to reflect on what it represents and what’s next.
The reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) gives EPA important new authorities to tackle the problem of toxic chemicals. For the first time, there are also enforceable deadlines and schedules for EPA work on chemicals as well as dedicated funding from fees paid by industry. The pace of change will be slow, however. There are some unnecessary activities required that will divert resources and there are some loopholes in the law. State authority is unduly infringed under the bill, but enough is preserved that states can still take the lead in public health interventions for many if not most, chemicals.
Statement from Andy Igrejas, the Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families