Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Proposed Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847) was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on July 25 in a party-line vote. Introduced by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), the legislation would modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) and give EPA authority to require health and safety testing of toxic chemicals. The bill would place the burden on industry to prove their chemicals are safe. Currently, EPA can call for safety testing only after evidence surfaces showing a chemical is dangerous.

In brief, the Safe Chemicals Act would:
  • Require manufacturers to develop and submit safety data for each chemical they produce, while avoiding duplicative or unnecessary testing.
  • Prioritize chemicals based on risk, so that EPA can focus resources on evaluating those most likely to cause harm while working through the backlog of untested existing chemicals.
  • Place the burden of proof on chemical manufacturers to demonstrate the safety of their chemicals.
  • Restrict uses of chemicals that cannot be proven safe.
  • Establish a public database to catalog the information submitted by chemical manufacturers and the EPA's safety determinations.
  • Promote innovation and development of safe chemical alternatives, and bring some new chemicals onto the market using an expedited review process.
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