On June 7, the US Senate passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576), which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bill came to the Senate floor by unanimous consent and passed on a voice vote. The passage in the Senate follows passage of the same bill by a margin of 403-12 in the US House of Representatives on May 24. President Obama is expected to sign the bill, and a White House statement expressed the Administration’s strong support of the legislation, stressing that although the bill is not perfect, it satisfies the Administration’s goals for “meaningful reform.”
For decades, many have called for modernizing TSCA in order to ensure consistent national standards and to reflect scientific developments. In 2015, the House and the Senate passed separate TSCA reform bills. The long-awaited Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, named after the late New Jersey senator who championed chemical regulation reform, is a compromise between the House and Senate bills.
The sweeping legislation amends the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate chemical substances. A summary of the key features of the legislation can be found here. With TSCA reform finally becoming a reality, the focus will now shift to EPA’s implementation of the responsibilities and deadlines imposed by the Act.