Senators introduce bipartisan proposal to reform toxic chemical regulations

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: May 22, 2013 7:54 pm ET
Updated: May 22, 2013 8:00 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Public Policy, Sustainability, Government & Legislation
Companies & Associations Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.

WASHINGTON -- Dropping their dueling bills, two senators on Wednesday introduced a new measure that would modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by requiring new tests for chemicals already on the market and granting broad new regulatory authority to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Chemical Safety Act of 2013 was introduced by senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and David Vitter (R-La.), co-sponsored by a slate of 14 other senators from both sides of the aisle. The pair attempted to work together on revamping TSCA two years ago, but no final bill was ever presented and the effort eventually fizzled.

Congress has debated changing the chemical regulation law since it was originally signed in 1976, though the EPA announced reform initiatives in 2009, along with a new approach for evaluating and managing toxic chemicals safely under the existing law and a long list of chemicals the agency wanted to tackle first.

As introduced, the new measure would:

  • Require safety evaluation for all active chemicals already on the market, which must eventually be labeled as high- or low-risk to human health or the environment.
  • Require additional safety evaluation by the EPA for chemicals considered high-risk or particularly risky for children and pregnant women.
  • Expand EPA authority to include the authority to obtain health and safety information from manufacturers, prioritize rules regulating chemicals, imposing safety requirements such as labeling, and phasing out or banning chemicals is necessary.
  • Allow states and municipalities to have input on prioritization and safety assessment, including a timely response from EPA regarding local concerns.

The measure does not include provisions to require chemical companies to use less dangerous materials if they are determined to be comparable and readily available by the EPA, something environmental groups have pushed for in previous iterations but that the industry said would give the EPA too much control over operations without a full understanding of their processes or the potential impact of such a change.

TSCA reform and the Lautenberg-Vitter bill seems to have been introduced with industry support, including the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.

“SPI has long advocated TSCA updates that embrace 21st century scientific and technological advances, while enhancing the ability of the U.S. plastics industry to develop and utilize essential materials,” said SPI President Bill Carteaux.

“At a time when the chemical industry is driving a national manufacturing renaissance, a sensible, strong and workable bipartisan solution to modernize TSCA as laid out in the CSIA is more important than ever, not only for our industry, but for the countless others that rely on chemical products. We stand committed to work with the Senate to ensure passage of this compromise legislation.”


Comments

Senators introduce bipartisan proposal to reform toxic chemical regulations

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: May 22, 2013 7:54 pm ET
Updated: May 22, 2013 8:00 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

California lawmakers give final approval to plastic bag ban

August 30, 2014 6:00 am ET

Under the measure, single-use plastic bags will be barred from California retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores, as ...    More

Image

Poor plastic coating prompts cable recall

August 29, 2014 2:10 pm ET

Australia's competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has ordered a major recall of 2,485 miles of electrical ...    More

Image

EPA fines RI polymer company

August 29, 2014 1:20 pm ET

A Rhode Island polymer manufacturer has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating federal clean...    More

Image

Chinese compounders seek market shares, often at the expense of margins

August 29, 2014 10:02 am ET

China's largest compounder, Kingfa Sci. & Tech. Co. Ltd., as well as its more automotive-focused counterparts Shanghai Pret Composites Co. Ltd. and...    More

Image

Green trend boosts plastic building materials business in China

August 29, 2014 9:42 am ET

The greening of China's domestic building materials market is giving the plastics industry a boost.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events