The primary means for regulating chemicals in the United States today is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Enacted in 1976, TSCA is outdated and in need of reform. Currently, the statute does not:
- Provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with sufficient authority to require information/testing or to regulate existing chemicals (as compared to new chemicals);
- Require substantiation of confidential business information (CBI) claims or allow EPA to share certain CBI with other governments;
- Allow the EPA to take expeditious action against a chemical that fails to meet the safety standard;
- Allow the EPA to evaluate safety/risk apart from economic considerations.
TSCA reform is imperative, because it impacts almost every aspect of how the chemical industry develops, produces, and manages chemicals on a day-to-day basis. Without TSCA reform, industry will continue to be faced with an uneven and unpredictable regulatory environment and struggle to meet a patchwork of state-specific regulations as well as various requirements from retailers who are increasingly acting on product de-selection.
A reformed TSCA should meet the following core principles:
- Ensure chemicals are safe for intended use based on a strong scientific framework that uses modern technology;
- Ensure safety decisions are expeditious;
- Prioritize chemicals to determine which substances warrant additional review and assessment;
- Use all reliable, high-quality data;
- Make safety information public while protecting intellectual property.
As TSCA reform efforts progress, Dow will continue to advocate for a predictable, risk-based chemical management framework that restores consumer confidence, and reestablishes a predictable, commonsense framework for determining chemical safety, but does not adversely affect innovation in the U.S. chemical industry.