Last night, the Senate passed its bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This is a milestone that we have worked toward for years, but it also comes with some big red flags.
In May of 2015, the Minnesota Legislature quietly passed the nation’s most comprehensive flame retardant product ban to date. However, a current Senate proposal to reform regulation of chemicals at the federal level puts future state laws like this at risk.
With rumors swirling that the Senate could call a vote very soon on S.697, the Vitter-Udall chemical bill, four governors are raising fresh concerns about the bill, even as they encourage Congress to pass reform.
A striking difference between the Senate and House bills is their length. But does a “comprehensive” bill necessarily mean a better chemical safety program?
H.R. 2576, which passed the House on June 23, retains section 5 in its current form. S. 697, reported out of committee on April 28, would rewrite section 5. Once the Senate acts on TSCA reform, the process of reconciling the two bills will begin. How critical are the Senate’s new chemical provisions in enhancing TSCA’s public health protections? And how much weight they should receive in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the two bills?
What’s in it? What’s next?
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act by a whopping 398 to 1 vote.