• US Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA) say they have a groundbreaking, bipartisan agreement to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and ensure the safety of everyday consumer products to better protect American families. According to the Senators, their legislation would significantly update and improve TSCA, which has proven ineffective and is criticized by both the public health community and industry. The Lautenberg-Vitter legislation would, for the first time, ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment, while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow and create jobs. The Lautenberg-Vitter “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and John Hoeven (R-ND).
The Lautenberg-Vitter “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” would:
- 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 Environmental Protection Agency (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 EPA to secure necessary health and safety information from chemical manufacturers, while directing EPA to rely first on existing information to avoid duplicative testing.
- 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.
- 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.
- Give States and Municipalities a Say: States and local governments will have the opportunity to provide input on prioritization, safety assessment and the safety determination processes, requiring timely response from EPA, and the bill establishes a waiver process to allow state regulations or laws to remain in effect when circumstances warrant it.