In the wake of the December 17, 2015, passage of a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill by the U.S. Senate, which followed the lead of the U.S. House of Representatives, one may ask: What is going on? The current Congress is supporting new federal environmental regulation?

The answer lies in two facts: (1) the existing statute was simply outdated and unworkable for industry, and (2) the existence of a dysfunctional federal regulatory program had spawned the equally disliked (principally by industry, but also by environmentalists) evolution of differing regulations in different states. Thus, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), after acknowledging the need for public confidence in federal regulation of chemical safety, noted: “This lack of confidence has created pressure on individual state legislatures to create their own chemicals management laws and on retailers to pull products from the shelves, often based on the claims of activists rather than scientific conclusions.”

When both the ACC and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) agree on the need for regulatory reform, and work together (with many other stakeholders) to get bills through both the House and Senate, it is apparent there was a problem with the status quo.

The House and Senate bills will likely go to a joint conference committee.