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Policy

House Of Representatives Panel Launches Bipartisan Effort To Reform U.S. Chemical Law

Congress: Lawmakers agree on draft bill to update Toxic Substances Control Act

by Britt E. Erickson
May 18, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 20

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are hoping to quickly advance bipartisan legislation to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the U.S. law that governs commercial chemicals. A draft version of the bill, which hasn’t yet been formally introduced, garnered unanimous bipartisan backing from a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee on May 14. Unveiled on May 12 by Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.), the draft TSCA Modernization Act would give EPA the authority to require manufacturers to provide new information about chemicals already on the market. The draft bill would set deadlines for EPA to evaluate the risks of substances that the agency classifies as “priority chemicals.” The draft legislation would allow EPA to collect fees from manufacturers to cover the cost of those evaluations. The measure also would mandate that EPA’s risk decisions be based on health and environmental considerations and not on costs. Chemical manufacturers strongly support the draft bill, but some environmental groups say it falls short of ensuring that substances used in everyday products are safe.

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