Issue Date: April 19, 2010
Bill Would Overhaul Chemical Control Law
Chemical manufacturers would have to provide a minimum set of toxicity data for each substance they make, under newly introduced legislation. The bill, introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) on April 15, would overhaul the law that governs the manufacture of commercial chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act. Lautenberg, who chairs the Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics & Environmental Health, said his proposed Safe Chemicals Act calls on EPA to categorize chemicals on the basis of risk and focus on evaluating those most likely to cause harm. The bill would require all uses of a chemical to be identified and determined to be safe for the substance to enter or stay on the market. In addition, the bill would establish green chemistry grant programs and research centers to foster development of safer chemicals. In a related move, the House Energy & Commerce Committee on April 15 released a “discussion draft” of TSCA legislation similar to Lautenberg’s bill. Chemical manufacturers generally agree that TSCA, which has remained virtually unchanged since 1976, needs to be modernized. Activists from health, environmental, labor, and other sectors are calling for a more extensive reworking of the law.
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