Last week, Sen. Lautenberg(D-NJ) introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011,” an updated version of a similar bill he introduced last year. The bill cosponsored by Sens. Boxer(D-CA), Schumer(D-NY), and Klobuchar(D-MN) aims to reform the current Toxic Substances Control Act(TSCA). According to the press release from Sen. Lautenberg’s office the bill will “give EPA more power to regulate the use of dangerous chemicals and require manufacturers to submit information proving the safety of every chemical in production and any new chemical seeking to enter the market.”
The updated bill has some changes from the one the senator introduced last year. The bill establishes a risk-based approach so that the EPA can determine the highest-risk chemicals and focus on those. The bill requires the EPA to place chemicals in one of three classes, the first class of chemicals being those that pose an immediate risk. The second being those that require a “safety standard determination.” The third class is for those chemicals that do not require immediate attention.
It would also require the chemical companies to submit basic data that will help determine risk of certain chemicals and whether further testing or restrictions are required. The legislation will also promote innovation, green chemistry and safe alternatives to those chemicals of concern.
A summary of the legislation can be found here.