Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA) announced a bi-partisan bill to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” would see all chemicals in commerce screened for safety in order to protect public health and the environment. It would also allow industry to continue on a path of innovation, and create and grow jobs for manufacturers. Sen. Vitter said the bill “strikes the right balance between strengthening consumer confidence in the safety of chemicals while also promoting innovation and the growth of an important sector of our economy.”
The bill would require all active chemicals in commerce to be evaluated and labeled as either “high” or “low” priority based on the risks each pose to the environment and the population. If a chemical is labeled high-priority more safety evaluations would be performed by U.S. EPA. If EPA deems chemicals unsafe, they can make certain labeling requirements or opt for a full phase-out of the chemical. Companies would be required to provide more information to the federal government than they currently do under the confidential business information exemptions. The legislation has twelve bi-partisan cosponsors to date. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Sen. Boxer (D-CA) is currently not one of the co-sponsors and said there is no timetable yet for moving the bill through committee.