Talk continues about changes to chemical regulations, but no action yet

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: February 4, 2014 4:46 pm ET
Updated: February 4, 2014 4:48 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy

WASHINGTON – Changes to chemical regulation that would ultimately impact the plastics industry are imperceptibly limping along in Congress, even in the face of the December chemical spill in West Virginia that riled some lawmakers who were already pushing for change.

A House subcommittee quizzed witnesses from industry and health and environmental groups Feb. 4 on what they believe works—and what doesn't—in the sections of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that require testing and reporting.

Industry representatives maintained that companies, specifically those farthest upstream in manufacturing processes, conduct chemical tests on their products on their own, without demands from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which administrates TSCA.

But as it stands, the law "significantly burdens EPA" by requiring the agency to demonstrate that a chemical is potentially dangerous before it can force the companies to hand over their testing data, testified Dr. Jerry Paulson of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Companies should be required to release information to EPA," Paulson said. "EPA shouldn't have to ask for it."

But no company wants to run the risk of revealing proprietary information to competitors or making their intellectual property available to the world by way of an EPA chemical database.

"It's not that I want to hide any hazard information, but I would like to keep my chemical ID confidential," said Beth Bosley, president of Boron Specialties, LLC, who testified on behalf of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates.

Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said that TSCA is in serious need of "rational modernization," but urged lawmakers not to hobble industry in the process.

"I urge congress to make sure that we don't inhibit the manufacturing renaissance by allowing a patchwork of state-by-state regulations," Drevna said. "This calls for federal action. Great care must be taken so that manufacturing supply chains are not disrupted.

Later in the day, in the Senate, a hearing on the chemical spill in West Virginia's Elk River also brought up TSCA's failings, particularly in terms of its requirements for testing and reporting on chemical storage facilities.

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) -- proposed last May by co-authors Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., as a compromise bill after more than a decade of disagreements on revamping TSCA -- would require safety testing of all chemicals on the market as well as new chemicals, and would grant the EPA authority to phase out or ban chemicals deemed harmful, from flame retardants to building materials to bisphenol A. While the bill has drawn 25 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle and hearings have been held, the measure to revamp TSCA remains parked with the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.


Comments

Talk continues about changes to chemical regulations, but no action yet

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: February 4, 2014 4:46 pm ET
Updated: February 4, 2014 4:48 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Rail improvements also allow rotomolder to improve operations

July 24, 2014 3:10 pm ET

An infrastructure improvement grant from the U.S. Commerce Department is helping an Indiana plastics plant expand its product line and add jobs.    More

Image

Study: 100 times less plastic than expected polluting ocean surface

July 23, 2014 3:46 pm ET

There's as much as 100 times less plastic floating on surface of the world's oceans than would be expected given the mushrooming use of the material...    More

Image

Molder provides quality parts and quality work for disabled adults

July 23, 2014 2:40 pm ET

Coarc Manufacturing Inc. does injection molding, assembly and all of the work of traditional manufacturer, but it also serves as part of Coarc Inc. a ...    More

OSHA probes alleged asthma link to Lear's Selma, Ala., plant

July 23, 2014 11:58 am ET

U.S. foam manufacturer Renosol Seating LLC is being investigated following allegations its workers are at risk of asthma from TDI exposure at its...    More

Image

Plastics industry blasted for stance in green building debate

July 22, 2014 2:45 pm ET

The plastics industry has taken high-profile stance in the debate over green building standards. The result, today at least, is that it's getting some...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events