Chairmen Rush, Waxman Release H.R. 5820, The Toxic Chemicals Safety Act

Jul 22, 2010

Today, following hearings and an extended stakeholder process in response to the release of a discussion draft in April, U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced H.R. 5820, the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010, a major piece of legislation aimed at strengthening and updating the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the primary statute governing the safety of chemicals in commerce.

“The introduction of this legislation marks a major step forward in our efforts to bring to current industry standards an important statute that, once it becomes law, will permanently shine the bright light of public disclosure on a range of chemicals that consumers encounter in a diverse array of products they use each and every day,” said Rush whose subcommittee has jurisdiction over TSCA enforcement.  “I appreciate the tremendous work, testimony, analysis and public comments that a variety of stakeholders and consumer groups have shared as we’ve worked to craft a piece of legislation that both protects consumers while respecting the right of private industry to innovate while protecting businesses’ confidentiality, trade secrets and intellectual property rights.  We are working with all deliberate speed, in this session of Congress, to update a law that is of major importance to American consumers,” said Rush whose committee will hold a hearing on this legislation next Thursday.

“Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act is long-overdue,” said Chairman Henry A. Waxman.  “Over the past few months, at the request of affected industries, Chairman Rush and I led a robust stakeholder process that involved a serious and candid exchange of views on TSCA reform.  This process was extremely valuable and productive.  The result is the bill introduced today, which will protect public health and the environment while promoting American jobs and innovation.  Under this legislation, all chemicals will be reviewed for safety, dangerous chemicals will be restricted or eliminated, and new, safer chemicals will be developed more rapidly to move our economy toward a sustainable future.  There is much work still ahead, but I am confident that today’s legislation marks a critical step on the road toward reforming TSCA and enacting a smart and safe chemical policy for America.”

Over the last two decades, a number of statutory and regulatory 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.

Over the past year, the Environmental Protection Agency and other stakeholders, including the American Chemistry Council and a broad coalition of public health, labor, and environmental groups, have issued principles enumerating their priorities for legislation.  In addition, many other stakeholders have articulated their views on how to reform TSCA.