On May 22, 2013, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators (including Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and the recently deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)) introduced the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” (“CSIA”) in an effort to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act and make dramatic changes to the current regulatory structure governing the manufacturing, sale, and use of new and existing chemicals.  Perhaps most significantly, the proposed CSIA would give the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”) considerable new authority to regulate both existing and newly introduced chemicals, including the use of administrative orders and consent agreements to require additional chemical testing and restrict or prohibit the manufacture and sale of chemicals that do not meet certain safety standards.  Given its relatively broad bipartisan support, chemical manufacturers, importers, processors, and distributors should follow closely the CSIA’s path through Congress.

Among other requirements, the CSIA would: 

  • Establish a new “safety standard” for U.S. EPA’s evaluation of risks posed by new and existing chemicals, namely to ensure that “no unreasonable risk of harm to human health or the environment will result from exposure to a chemical substance”;
  • Require U.S. EPA to establish a risk-screening process in order to create lists of existing chemicals that are “high priority” or “low priority” for determining whether the chemicals meet the new safety standard;
  • Authorize U.S. EPA to ban chemicals that do not meet the safety standard, which bans would be subject to judicial review;
  • Grant U.S. EPA additional authority to require chemical manufacturers to provide information regarding new and existing chemicals; and
  • Impose significant public disclosure requirements on information regarding chemicals submitted to U.S. EPA, including establishing specific procedures for protection of confidential business information.

A copy of the proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013, as posted by the American Chemical Society, is available here.