• ACMA’s Government Affairs Committee effectively manages industry advocacy programs, ensuring that advocacy objectives serve the needs of the industry.
  • Association staff participate in TSCA workgroups managed by the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers.
  • ACMA is working to educate other small business groups on the need for reform, and to work with others in the chemical industry to assure that TSCA reform is a step forward for all segments of the chemical industry, not just the major chemical manufacturers.

Major changes coming?

Also concurrent with the planned styrene risk assessment under EPA’s TSCA program, Congress may enact a major revision to the TSCA legislation. The 1976 bill has been widely criticized because it allows chemicals to be introduced into commerce unless EPA is able to prove they are not safe, and it does not allow EPA to compel chemical manufacturers to conduct safety testing or provide existing data. Because of legal challenges, the agency has assessed only a handful of the 60,000 existing chemicals already in use when TSCA was adopted.

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act, currently before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with 26 bipartisan cosponsors, is first of several recent TSCA reform efforts to enjoy broad support. Unlike the 1976 bill, the CSIA would require EPA to make an affirmative safety determination before a chemical is approved for use, and would allow EPA to require chemical manufacturers and users to conduct toxicity and exposure testing and provide data to the agency

Test order — EPA could require chemical suppliers to conduct toxicity testing.

Test order — EPA could require chemical suppliers to conduct toxicity testing.

The CSIA would reform TSCA to establish a multi-step process for safety reviews of existing chemicals. First, EPA would identify as low priority those substances for which readily available data show that a safety standard will be met. The agency will then conduct safety determinations on the high priority chemicals, ordering suppliers and processors to conduct toxicity testing and exposure monitoring if necessary. For high priority substances that do not pass the safety test, EPA will proceed to develop risk management standards including control requirements and usage restrictions.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has conducted several hearings on TSCA reform, but has not started working on a bill. Environmental groups, chemical industry representatives and senior EPA managers testified at a November 13 House hearing on the CSIA, with wide agreement among the witnesses that the Senate bill is a good start in implementing badly needed reforms to TSCA. The American Chemistry Council wants Congress to amend TSCA to preempt the many overlapping and inconsistent state toxic chemical regulations, once EPA has made safety determinations.