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House Passes Bill To Revise Nation’s Chemical Regulations

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Legislative progress is in the works for increased sustainability practices.

The House passed a bill Monday, H.R. 2576, to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical regulations in the United States.

“Chemical regulation can be awfully complicated, but this bill isn’t—it is just common sense. By removing 40-year-old barriers and modernizing procedures, we reduce the risk to consumers. This means the chemicals and products we use every day will be safer for Americans,” Paul Ryan, House speaker (R-Wisconsin), said in a statement.

The bill, also known as The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Modernization Act, was introduced by John Shimkus (R-Illinois) to revise preemption of state law, management of confidential business information and the original Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

“The legislation before us today is a vast improvement over current law and a careful compromise that is good for consumers, good for jobs and good for the environment,” Shimkus stated.

According to the bill, “TSCA’s scope is revised by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate chemicals so that they no longer present unreasonable risks of injury to health or environment, instead of requiring the EPA to provide adequate protection against those risks using the least burdensome requirements.”

The EPA must conduct a risk evaluation of each chemical , publish a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) list of chemicals, determine other PBT chemicals and enforce rules that would reduce the exposure of PBT chemicals.

Risk evaluation of chemicals are required if the EPA determines that they are harmful to the environment or if a chemical manufacturer requests an evaluation. The bill also requires that the EPA conducts 10 or more risk evaluations each year and it provides the EPA with permission to test chemicals prior to evaluation.

A published PBT list is also required by the new bill. With the PBT list, the EPA will be able to evaluate harmful chemicals and create rules that would regulate their use throughout multiple industries.

The bill also permits the EPA to grant exemptions from some chemical usage rules.

“The EPA may grant exemptions from risk management requirements for a specific use of a chemical if: the requirement is not cost-effective with respect to that use; and the specific use is a critical or essential use, or the requirement would significantly disrupt the national economy, national security, or critical infrastructure,” the bill said.

Cabot Corporation of Tuscola Facility General Manger Carl Troike, spoke about how the bill would greatly improve chemical regulation and greater consumer safety in our country:

“The modernization of TSCA will further ensure the safety of chemical products, but more importantly improve consumer confidence in the safety and regulation of the chemical industry. With a stronger system in place, we can ensure that the chemical industry is able to continue to innovate while delivering chemical products that are safe for their intended use.”

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