Congress Passes TSCA Bill

The Senate has passed the Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576) the federal chemical control law, overhauling the Toxic Substances Reform Act ,updating the country’s standards for chemical safety, and giving the EPA new regulatory power over thousands of chemicals, including new ability to order testing.

TSCA (toss-ka), the Toxic Substances Control Act, 1976, is aimed at regulating chemicals used in everyday products. The new Bill creates the foundation for a sound and comprehensive chemicals policy that protects public health and the environment, while restoring the luster of safety to U.S. goods in the world market.

Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.

The bill will be sent to the White House, where it is expected to be signed into law as early as this week, following the Executive Office’s May 23, 2016 statement of support for the bill.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is the lead Democratic sponsor of the bill. He said the old law was inadequate. “Most Americans believe that when they buy a product at the hardware store or the grocery store, that product has been tested and determined to be safe. But that isn’t the case. Americans are exposed to hundreds of chemicals from household items,” he said.

Udall became the main Democratic sponsor in 2013, after the death of then-Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat who made passing chemical reform his top priority for several years.