House of Representatives Introduces Bill to Modernize TSCA

TSCA Reform:

On July 22, Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL), Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 (H.R. 5820) (“TCSA,” confusingly similar to the acronym of the current statute).  The bill is intended to modernize the current Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”).  The introduced bill is different in many respects from the discussion draft the Representatives circulated back in April.  In some instances the introduced bill is better and in others it is worse.   A short summary of the bill, provided by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is set out below.   A more detailed analysis will be available in a future posting on the Green Chemistry Law Report.

According to the House Committee, the bill would:

  • Establish a framework to ensure that all chemical substances to which the American people are exposed will be reviewed for safety and restricted where necessary to protect public health and the environment;
  • Require the chemical industry to develop and provide to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) essential data, and improve EPA’s authority to compel testing where necessary;
  • Ensure that non-confidential information submitted to EPA is shared with the public and that critical confidential information is shared among regulators, with states, and with workers in the chemical industry;
  • Establish an expedited process for EPA to reduce exposure to chemical substances that are known to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic;
  • Create incentives and a review process for safer alternatives to existing chemicals, promoting innovation and investment in green chemistry;
  • Create a workforce education and training program in green chemistry, promoting and ensuring long-term viability of American jobs;
  • Encourage the reduction of the use of animals in chemical testing;
  • Allow EPA to exempt chemicals already known to be safe from requirements of the TCSA;
  • Promote research to advance understanding of children’s vulnerability to the harms of chemicals;
  • Direct EPA to address community exposures to toxic chemicals in certain “hot spot” locations;
  • Require EPA to engage in international efforts to control dangerous chemicals;
  • Ensure that EPA actions are transparent, open to public comment, and subject to judicial review, without unreasonable procedural burdens; and
  • Give EPA the resources needed to carry out the TCSA.

Key documents, including a copy of the bill, are available here.