Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Amendment Signed

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Credit: EPA Credit: EPA

President Barack Obama has signed the bipartisan amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which updates the 1976 law for the first time in 20 years.

The amendment was support by organizations like the American Chemistry Council, the American Council on Science and Health and almost the entire chemical industry, because it is more of an evidence-based alternative than other proposals like the Safe Chemicals Act, which was more activism than science.

For that reason, environmentalists were actually critical of this update that gives the Environmental Protection Agency more power, because it would preempt state laws, like California's California Safer Consumer Products regulation.

But if the concern is public health, then parameters that prioritize chemicals for risk assessment and focus on particular use scenarios, rather than lazily analyzing epidemiology papers and declaring "hazard" as the U.N.'s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) does, is going to be a win for everyone.

A patchwork of state laws, paid for by $1 billion in environmental juggernauts, is not protecting Americans. This is a win because it doesn't lend itself to arbitrary decisions.

It requires:

  • Evaluations of chemicals based purely on the health risks they pose
  • Existing chemicals to be evaluated, with clear and enforceable deadlines, no arbitrary decisions.