Industry optimistic on passing TSCA reform; House bill in the works.

Although there has been no reported progress on Senate attempts to amend the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) since last month’s update, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) weighed in last week with confidence that legislation to reform the United States’ outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) could pass before the 2014 elections. ACC President Cal Dooley told a press briefing: “There continues to build momentum that could result in enactment of CSIA or some version thereof prior to the November elections.”

The ACC, the major trade group representing chemical and plastics companies, has supported the CSIA since its introduction in May. Despite bipartisan support and backing from industry and some environmental groups, the CSIA has been strongly criticized by key Democrats, including Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and a large coalition of environmental and public health groups. In response, the CSIA is quietly being reworked in the Senate to achieve broader support.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has held four hearings on TSCA, but similar legislation has yet to be introduced in the House. However, Chemical Watch reported last week that industry representatives, sharing Dooley’s optimism, said that a House version of the bill is being prepared in the office of Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL). The House bill is expected to address objections raised by critics of the CSIA such as preemption of state laws and protections for especially vulnerable populations.