Two bills that would reform the nearly 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 have advanced in Congress.

S. 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, was the subject of a legislative hearing at the Environment and Public Works Committee in April, and was reported favorably to the full Senate along with Senate Report. No. 114-67 recommending its passage. It was introduced by Sen. Udall (D-NM), and has received the support of 57 cosponsors, including 35 Republicans and 22 Democrats. The bill would: 1) require EPA to develop policies, procedures, and guidance to improve the process for evaluating chemical safety; 2) authorize EPA to gather new information about chemicals from manufacturers at all stages of the safety evaluation process; 3) require EPA to implement a risk-based prioritization process to evaluate chemicals already in use; 4) clarify when federal TSCA actions preempt state restrictions on chemical substances; 5) require EPA to update its process for reviewing industry confidentiality requests; and 6) require EPA to establish a new fee schedule for chemical manufacturers required to submit data to the agency, or who request EPA assess chemicals not yet prioritized for review by the agency.

H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act, was the subject of a mark-up hearing at the Energy and Commerce Committee in June, and was reported favorably to the full House along with House Report 114-176 recommending its passage. It was introduced by Rep. Shimkus (R-IL), and has received the support of 16 cosponsors, eight from each party. The bill was debated on the floor and passed by the House in a 398-1 vote (Roll no. 378) in June. The bill would: 1) authorize EPA to gather new information from manufacturers necessary to conduct risk evaluations on chemical substances; 2) require EPA to initiate at least ten risk evaluations annually on chemical substances the agency determines may present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment; 3) require EPA to publish a list of chemicals considered to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBTs), and to designate any such PBT as a “chemical of concern”; 4) require EPA to review renewed requests for confidentiality beginning ten years after the original confidentiality designations are made; 5) clarify when federal TSCA actions preempt state restrictions on chemical substances; and 6) require EPA to establish a new fee schedule for chemical manufacturers required to submit data to the agency, or who request EPA assess chemicals not yet prioritized for review by the agency.