Legislation introduced today by Reps. Bobby L. Rush (D-Illinois) and Henry Waxman (D-California) would overhaul the 30+ year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The new Toxic Chemicals Safety Act (H.R.5820) proposes to change the process by which chemicals are cleared for use and better protect Americans against the dangers of toxic chemicals.
Some of the changes would include:
- establishing a framework to ensure that all chemicals are reviewed for safety and restricted where necessary to protect public health and the environment
- requiring the chemical industry to provide safety data to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- sharing non-confidential information about chemicals submitted to the EPA with the public and sharing critical confidential information with regulators, state officials and industry workers
- establishing an expedited process enabling EPA to reduce exposure to chemicals that are known to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic
- advancing understanding of children’s vulnerability to the risks of chemicals
- encouraging the reduction of the use of animals in chemical testing
Opponents have expressed concern that this legislation would drive job loss and cost increases. What do you think? Is there is way to ensure safety and protect the economy and chemical industry? And if not, is it the government’s responsibility to protect the public from toxic chemicals regardless of the impact on the economy?