Chairmen Rush, Waxman Release Discussion Draft of the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act
Today Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released a discussion draft of legislation to revise the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the primary statute governing the safety of chemicals in commerce, which has not been updated since its enactment in 1976.
Over the last two decades, a number of regulatory and enforcement barriers to effective implementation of TSCA have been identified, and there has been a growing consensus that TSCA should be amended. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office named TSCA a "high-risk" priority and one of the areas most in need of broad reform.
The Environmental Protection Agency and other stakeholders, including the American Chemistry Council and a public health, labor, and environmental coalition, have issued principles enumerating their priorities for legislation. These various sets of principles all have a remarkable degree of similarity. In addition, many other stakeholders have shared their opinions on how to reform various provisions of TSCA.
This draft legislation reflects reasoned consideration of stakeholder and EPA priorities and recommendations.
"Through the open stakeholder process that we are commencing today, I am optimistic that the discussion draft of my bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act will lead to a number of constructive improvements," said Subcommittee Chairman Rush. "Already, the Environmental Protection Agency, the states, industry, environmental groups and labor have provided substantial assistance to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection in this endeavor. This process is well worth the additional investment of time to ensure that the bill I ultimately introduce enables the EPA to better regulate, understand the properties of, and manage the health and environmental risks associated with the tens of thousands of chemicals that we find in our communities, homes, personal and work spaces, food and our bodies."
"For decades, Congress has been told that the Toxic Substances Control Act is failing its mission and is in desperate need of reform," said Chairman Waxman. "In order to protect all Americans from toxic exposures and the adverse effects they cause, Congress must strengthen this failing law."
The Chairmen will be working with Members of the Committee and stakeholders to refine the legislative draft in anticipation of consideration later this year.
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