Last night, the Senate passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act by voice vote. This follows a 403-12 House vote to approve the bill in late May. The bill now heads to the President's desk for signature.
The Lautenberg Act is a comprehensive update of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the statute governing the manufacture of chemicals and products containing chemicals. It is the first real update of TSCA since the law's enactment in 1976. The Lautenberg Act creates a risk-based standard requiring that chemicals be safe for their intended use, as opposed to a precautionary principle-based approach. It sorts the TSCA inventory of chemicals into high-priority and low-priority chemicals, and establishes a procedure for EPA assessing those chemicals. It provides preemption of the patchwork of state chemical laws and regulations, so manufacturers have clear rules of the road. And it requires the best available science and protects manufacturers' confidential business information.
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