Like all things out of Washington, it’s what happens now that matters. After years of talk about the need to overhaul the TSCA, it’s looking like something might actually happen. While many of us moan about ever-increasing regulations and government interference (with good reason), the TSCA is one of those examples where some regulating and “interference” is badly needed.
Agreement has finally been reached on how to overhaul the 40-year-old law that governs US chemicals policy after several false starts. Key Democrats and Republicans arrived at a compromise measure that was unveiled yesterday. The proposal is expected to pass both chambers of Congress imminently, and head to President Obama’s desk for signing before the end of the month.
This legislation to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which originally passed the House by near unanimous consent in June 2015 and cleared the Senate in December 2015, is the product of three years of intense negotiations between a key group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Read more of the story here…
Why is this important, you ask? It’s pretty basic:
- Americans assume that chemicals used to make products like toys and food containers sold in the U.S. are regulated and tested for safety — while some substances are (you know of BPA in plastics probably) — the vast majority are not
- When passed into law, TSCA grand-fathered in more than 60,000 chemicals that were in existence prior to 1976; only 200 of the original 60,000 chemicals have been tested for safety; some uses of only 5 of these toxic substances have been restricted
- Over 80,000 chemicals have been on the market and available for use since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976. EPA has required very few of these to be tested for their impacts on human health and the environment.
- TSCA allows chemical manufacturers to keep the ingredients in some chemicals secret — nearly 20 percent of the 80,000 chemicals are secret, according to EPA.
- Read more about it…
So, yes, this is big news. HOW big will become clear down the road. We appreciate the chemical industry and the incredible world of chemistry — it has made modern life possible. But based on the knowledge we now have about the reality of harsh chemicals, it only makes sense to overhaul the act.