President Barack Obama signed into law the bill reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. TSCA is the US’s primary chemicals management law. It aims to standardize a patchwork of state rules on the national level. The law will task the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate the safety of existing chemicals in commerce with clear and enforceable deadlines, starting with those most likely to cause risks. It requires EPA to evaluate new and existing chemicals against a new risk-based safety standard. The law should increase public transparency for chemical information and it provides a consistent source of funding for EPA to carry out the responsibilities under the new law.
Congress worked more than three years on the bill. Obama praised the chemicals industry groups and environmentalists for finding consensus despite their usual different opinions. Because of sharp criticism of Republicans and some Democrats, it is seen as especially unusual that the toxic chemicals bill passed a Republican-controlled Congress with broad support despite giving the EPA increased authority to assess the safety of new and existing chemicals.
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USA
- The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act: Frequent Questions
(the reform was named the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” to honor Frank R. Lautenberg; a New Jersey senator who initiated reform efforts for several years before his death in 2013. )