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Senator Lautenberg introduces Safe Chemicals Act
16
Apr '10
U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg announced legislation to overhaul the “Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976” (TSCA), an antiquated law that in its current state, leaves Americans at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. Lautenberg, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010” to protect the health of families and the environment.

“America's system for regulating industrial chemicals is broken,” said Senator Lautenberg. “Parents are afraid because hundreds of untested chemicals are found in their children's bodies. EPA does not have the tools to act on dangerous chemicals and the chemical industry has asked for stronger laws so that their customers are assured their products are safe. My 'Safe Chemicals Act' will breathe new life into a long-dead statute by empowering EPA to get tough on toxic chemicals. Chemical safety reform is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it is a common-sense issue and I look forward to building bipartisan support for this measure.”

The “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010” requires safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and puts the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order stay on the market. Under current policy, the EPA can only call for safety testing after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical is dangerous. As a result, EPA has been able to require testing for just 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances. The new legislation will give EPA more power to regulate the use of dangerous chemicals and require manufacturers to submit information proving the safety of every chemical in production and any new chemical seeking to enter the market.

Over the last several months, Sen. Lautenberg has chaired a series of hearings to help craft the “Safe Chemicals Act” with dozens of witnesses including business leaders, public officials, scientists, doctors, academics, and non-profit organizations. Through the hearings, public health groups, environmentalists, industry representatives and the EPA have expressed support for reforms to our nation's toxic substance laws. The “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010” comports with the reform principles laid out by the Obama Administration, the American Chemistry Council and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition.

Highlights of the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010”

Provides EPA with sufficient information to judge a chemical's safety. Requires manufacturers to develop and submit a minimum data set for each chemical they produce, while also preventing duplicative or unnecessary testing. EPA will have full authority to request additional information needed to determine the safety of a chemical.

Prioritizes chemicals based on risk. Calls on the EPA to categorize chemicals based on risk, and focus resources on evaluating those most likely to cause harm.

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