In recent days, the National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) have said they support the House approach to chemical safety reform. (See the letters below.)
While Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families does not endorse the House or Senate bills, we have said the House bill is the better approach and with a few targeted improvements would result in meaningful reform. The letters are significant in that they are from non-partisan organizations that represent different aspects of state government. They agree that House bill does a good job of preserving the state’s ability to act on a problematic chemical. As we’ve discussed often, states have been the leaders in acting on problem chemicals over the last several decades.
The House and Senate bills have different approaches, and preempt states to different degrees. Both bills preempt the states when a chemical passes a federal safety assessment or new federal restrictions take effect. Unfortunately, the Senate bill would preempt states years earlier during the process in which the federal government begins to look at a specific chemical. State Attorneys General have dubbed this a regulatory “void” in which neither the federal or state governments can actually restrict a chemical in commerce that is potentially dangerous to health and the environment.