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President Obama signed into law June 22 the first significant overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act since its enactment 40 years ago. The Environmental Protection Agency said the new law includes a number of improvements to TSCA, including a mandatory requirement for the EPA to systematically prioritize and evaluate existing chemicals on a specific and enforceable schedule, a requirement for the EPA to evaluate the safety of chemicals based purely on the health risks they pose, increased public transparency for chemical information, and the authority for the EPA to collect up to $25 million a year in user fees from chemical manufacturers and processors to pay for the improvements.
TSCA was created to give the EPA the authority to require reporting, recordkeeping and testing of chemicals and to restrict the importation, production, use and disposal of substances determined to pose a risk to health or the environment. However, since the law’s enactment the EPA has only been able to effectively require testing of a few hundred of the chemicals in use and has encountered significant barriers in attempting to restrict or ban certain chemicals or uses.
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act gives the EPA greater authority to identify chemicals as posing a risk, request additional information or testing, and impose restrictions or outright bans. Click here for more details.