Today, the Senate passed TSCA reform legislation by unanimous consent. The language of the legislation is an updated version of the Senate bill, S.697 (the “Udall/Vitter bill”) not previously made public. The next phase of the process is a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions of TSCA reform. The public health and environmental community have generally preferred the House version.
Andy Igrejas, Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a 450 member coalition dedicated to TSCA reform, had the following statement:
“Though improved, the legislation still has major problems. For example, it weakens EPA’s ability to intercept imported products, like most of the toys under your Christmas tree, when they contain a known toxic chemical. If reform is going to be credible, tricky, sneaky provisions like this will have to be removed. Luckily, it is not too late. When Congress reconciles the House and Senate versions, they should focus on the fundamentals of reform and simply empower and direct EPA to identify and restrict toxic chemicals.”
The serious problems with the Senate legislation include:
- The legislation makes it more difficult for EPA to identify and intercept imported products containing a toxic chemical.
- States will still be blocked from taking action while EPA studies a chemical, potentially delaying urgent public health interventions.
- The “low priority” category requires EPA to greenlight some chemicals without a thorough safety review.
- There are numerous requirements placed on EPA at industry’s behest that divert scarce resources from the core purpose of identifying and restricting chemicals that cause harm.