U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today joined 15 of her colleagues to introduce the bipartisan Chemical Safety Improvement Act, which will modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to support our manufacturers while ensuring the safety of consumer products. TSCA has not been updated for almost 25 years, and is in desperate need of the updates and improvements included in the Chemical Safety Improvements Act.
"We need to find a balance between protecting public health and supporting our manufacturers - this bill strikes that needed balance," Sen. Landrieu said. "Our chemical manufacturers support almost 180,000 jobs in Louisiana and 6 million across the country - this bill will allow them to continue making those contributions to our economy, while giving our families peace of mind that the products they use are safe. I thank Senators Lautenberg and Vitter for their leadership on this important issue and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to pass this important legislation through the Senate."
Chemical Safety Improvement Act will:
-Promote Innovation and Safer Chemistry: This legislation provides clear paths to getting new chemistry on the market and protects trade secrets and intellectual property from disclosure.
-Give States and Municipalities a Say: States and local governments will have the opportunity to provide input on prioritization, safety assessment and safety determination processes, requiring timely response from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The bill establishes a waiver process to allow state regulations or laws to remain in effect when circumstances warrant it.
-Protect Children and Pregnant Women: The legislation requires EPA to evaluate the risks posed to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women, when evaluating the safety of a chemical-a provision not included in existing law.
-Require Safety Evaluations for All Chemicals: All active chemicals in commerce must be evaluated for safety and labeled as either "high" or "low" priority chemical based on potential risk to human health and the environment. For high priority chemicals, EPA must conduct further safety evaluations.
-Protect Public Health from Unsafe Chemicals: If a chemical is found to be unsafe, the EPA has the necessary authority to take action. This can range from labeling requirements to the full phase-out or ban of a chemical.
-Prioritize Chemicals for Review: The Environmental Protection Agency will have to transparently assess risk, determine safety, and apply any needed measures to manage risks.
-Screen New Chemicals for Safety: New chemicals entering the market must be screened for safety and the EPA is given the authority to prohibit unsafe chemicals from entering the market.
-Secure Necessary Health and Safety Information: The legislation allows the EPA to secure necessary health and safety information from chemical manufacturers, while directing the EPA to rely first on existing information to avoid duplicative testing.
Under current law, the EPA can call for safety testing only after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical may be dangerous. As a result, EPA has only been able to require testing for roughly 200 of the more than 84,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States, and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances since TSCA was first enacted in 1976. These shortfalls led the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify TSCA as a "high risk" area of the law in 2009.
Comprehensive reform of chemical regulations is important to consumers and job creating businesses that need the ability to compete in the global marketplace. Chemicals are used to produce 96 percent of all manufactured goods consumers rely on every day and over 25 percent of the U.S. GDP is derived from industries that rely on chemicals.