On March 10, 2015, a new bill was proposed in the Senate aimed to reform outdated regulations associated with the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. The Udall-Vitter bill (S. 697), while still in its infancy has seen bi-partisan support in the Senate. Two days later, a separate bill was proposed with similar intentions (Boxer-Markey bill S. 725) prompting the belief that some version of reform could well be seen later this year.
Some of the major changes are listed below:
Safety Determination Standard
- Currently: safety determination is centered on the idea of “unreasonable risk” of harm where EPA takes into account the costs and benefits of the chemical.
- U-V: proposes the determination be made by virtue of risk only with no consideration of costs and benefits.
- Currently: new chemicals enter the market after a 90-day review by EPA unless EPA refuses the chemical due to unreasonable risk. In lieu of all data, the burden falls to the EPA to find a safety concern.
- U-V: proposes that a safety determination must be reached before a chemical can enter the market and the onus falls to the chemical manufacturer to provide sufficient safety data.
- Currently: chemicals manufactured prior to ’76 TSCA are grandfathered and require no safety testing.
- U-V: EPA will prioritize chemicals based on risk, and assess them for safety risks.
Protections for Vulnerable
- Currently: there are no regulations regarding vulnerable populations.
- U-V: introduces emphasis on protection of vulnerable populations (infants, children, pregnant women, workers, and elderly).
- Currently: approved claims remain in place indefinitely unless challenged by EPA.
- U-V: claims expire after 10 years unless reapproved by EPA.
For a more comprehensive look at the proposed bill, click here.