Government Regulation of Chemicals
Congress passed bipartisan comprehensive reform legislation to update the regulation of chemicals in commerce for the first time in 40 years, modernizing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) was signed and enacted into law by President Obama on June 22, 2016.
More effective federal oversight will give Americans greater confidence that chemicals in commerce are being used safely. A strong federal regulatory system can reduce demand for state-based chemical initiatives that may be inconsistent, impede interstate commerce and send mixed messages to consumers.
The new law will provide regulatory certainty in the global marketplace—while protecting public health and the environment.
By reforming TSCA, the LCSA makes changes that will create a stronger federal chemical regulatory system. Under the LCSA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct a risk-based review of all chemicals in commerce. EPA’s risk-based reviews must consider potential harm, uses and exposures so that their conclusions reflect real-world circumstances.
The law also:
- Requires that EPA prioritize chemicals so those deemed as “high-priority” are reviewed first;
- Requires that EPA consider vulnerable groups, like infants, pregnant women and the elderly when reviewing chemicals for safety;
- Makes it easier for EPA to require manufacturers to conduct more safety testing of chemicals and provide more data;
- Requires EPA to make an affirmative safety determination before a new chemical is allowed to come to market;
- Gives EPA clear authority to manage risks posed by chemicals;
- Sets aggressive deadlines for EPA to complete its work.