The U.S. House of Representatives, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote, passed a bill to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), updating federal regulations governing chemicals found throughout daily life.
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which passed by a vote of 403 to 12, updates TSCA regulations that had made it difficult for the government to regulate certain chemicals. It creates a system for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate and manage risks associated with chemicals on the market and sets deadlines for it to take action, and provides limited preemption of state laws.
Under the TSCA, it has been decades since new restrictions were placed on chemicals, and states have taken action piecemeal at their level. The new bill drew the chemical industry’s support to avoid having to comply with varied state regulations. However, existing state regulations are grandfathered, and the bill gives states the opportunity to pass their own rules and apply to the EPA for a waiver on a chemical’s regulation.
“This is sweeping legislation with monumental benefits for virtually every man, woman and child in the United States,” says Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL). “This bill represents a balanced and thoughtful compromise that makes long needed improvements to an outdated and ineffective law. It’s the culmination of a multi-year, multi-Congress effort and marks the first consequential update of the Toxic Substances Control Act in 40 years. I thank everyone who worked hard to get us to where we are today. It’s imperative that we get this bill signed into law without delay.”
The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama.