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AmeriChem PAC

AmeriChem PAC

federal chemical management policy

ISSUE  
The U.S. chemical management system has been protective of health and the environment.  More recently, however, public confidence in that system has been challenged.  Because the science of testing chemicals has evolved significantly, and due to the critical need to maintain an innovative and competitive US chemical industry, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is calling for the modernization and improvement of our federal chemical management system.  

10 Principles for Modernizing TSCA 

AMERICAN CHEMISTRY COUNCIL VIEWPOINT  
ACC actively seeks to enhance the current federal chemical management system in a way that provides for the evaluation and assessment of products that can find their way into the environment. Modernizing and improving TSCA should restore public confidence in the federal chemical management system, be responsive to government and public concerns about chemical risks, and be protective of human health and the environment.  This approach will help assure a U.S. chemical industry that fosters sustainable health, environment, social and economic outcomes.

Specifically, we think it appropriate to focus attention on a few key elements: 

• TSCA does not require EPA to prioritize its activities on the chemicals that warrant regulatory scrutiny.  With a process and criteria clearly established by law, a prioritization system could provide a means to more efficiently address important policy concerns such as children’s health.

• The federal system should assure that manufacturers and users have appropriate hazard, use and exposure information necessary to make decisions about safe use.  It does not mean that an identical set of information must be available on all chemicals.  Rather, exposure considerations should drive information requirements.  This approach would in general require more information about chemicals where there are exposures to humans or the environment, compared to those used solely to manufacture other chemicals or in enclosed processes.

• EPA should have the authority to determine the safety of priority chemicals for their intended uses by using hazard, use and exposure information to assure an understanding of the risks being considered.  A safety assessment is a review of the likelihood of harm, based on an understanding of both hazard characteristic and exposure considerations.  Chemical safety assessments and decisions that are based only on hazard characteristic(s) overlook important information and are bad public policy.

• EPA should have the authority to share appropriate confidential business information with state, local and select foreign governments when it is relevant to a decision on chemical safety and when there are appropriate safeguards against inappropriate disclosure. 

• EPA should have the resources consistent with a modernized chemical management system.  Current staff and funding levels at EPA are not adequate to do this work.

• The federal chemical management system should promote coordination and cooperation among scientists in the federal government, industry and academia to help interpret the data emerging from new scientific techniques and understand the consequences, if any, for health and environmental protection.

• All chemical research and testing should be held to the highest standards, regardless of who conducts it.  The federal chemical management system should help establish clear principles and protocols that help assess the quality of scientific data.

• There are important elements of TSCA that should be preserved, notably EPA’s broad information collection authority. 

• Appropriate enhancements to the U.S. federal chemical management system should be cost and resource efficient, and should promote innovation.  To be clear, ACC is NOT advocating the adoption of the European Union’s REACH system.   We have an opportunity to establish a chemical management system that provides greater confidence for health and environmental protection, in a more effective way.

In short, the American Chemistry Council and its members believe that modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act can help promote and achieve key health, environmental and commercial policy objectives.

BACKGROUND  
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the fundamental federal chemical management statute in the U.S., was signed into law in 1976.  Since then, the science and technology of chemistry has advanced considerably – and those advancements need to be integrated into the federal chemical management system.  

Momentum for modernization in the federal chemical regulatory system is growing in Congress.  Meanwhile state legislatures continue to propose controls on individual chemicals at tremendous cost to society and without regard for the unintended consequence of single product bans.  New regulatory approaches such as Europe’s registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances (REACH) have raised the prospect of significantly more costly and burdensome regulation without assurances that the political process will promote a sustainable solution for society or industry.

From ACC’s perspective, TSCA was written in an economic, scientific and technological context appropriate for the time.  As the complexity of modern science has increased, the expectations of society and industry have increased as well.  Chemical regulatory and public health policies have evolved considerably since TSCA was enacted, as has the industry’s practice of promoting sound product stewardship and emissions reduction.
   
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 
TSCA Media Kit 

TSCA short Primer 

 


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