Legislative update:

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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 sent it to the White House for President Obama’s signature, 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.

More information:

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.

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Policy & Regulation