U.S. Senator Frank R Lautenberg (D-NJ) reintroduced legislation on April 10 to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 would amend TSCA to give EPA additional authority to collect health and safety information, screen chemicals for safety, and require risk management when chemicals cannot be proven safe.
The new bill is identical to legislation that was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2012. That legislation included a number of significant changes from previous versions of the bill, and included input from members of the committee, the chemical industry, and public health officials. In addition, the bill considers information from a number of Congressional hearings, stakeholder meetings, and principles for reform issued by EPA, the American Chemistry Council, and the Safer Chemicals, Health Families Coalition.
In summary, the Safe Chemicals Act would:
- Allow EPA to secure health and safety information for new and existing chemicals,
- Screen chemicals for safety by prioritizing chemicals based on risk,
- Require risk management of chemicals that cannot be proven safe, which could include labeling, disposal requirements, restricted uses, or even full chemical bans.
- Establish a public database to catalog the health and safety information submitted by chemical manufacturers and the EPA’s safety determinations,
- Promote development of safe chemical alternatives.