In an article published on January 11, 2016 by the news provider The Intercept, journalist Sharon Lerner reports on the effects of the proposed bills to reform the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) on individual state regulations on toxic chemicals. In June 2015 and December 2015, respectively, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate approved their versions of a reform bill to modernize TSCA. Particularly the Senate’s bill would make it harder to impossible for states to regulate chemicals of concern, Lerner writes. In recent years, U.S. states Oregon, California, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, and Washington have taken a leading role in regulating and restricting hazardous chemicals such as brominated flame retardants and bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7). Although the Senate’s bill would leave existing state restrictions on specific chemicals intact, it could stop states from setting new regulations and bring current regulation efforts to a halt. States would be prohibited from taking action on chemicals that are considered “high priority” and under evaluation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lerner explains. However, the EPA’s investigations can go on for years to decades before any regulatory action is taken, Lerner points out. Further, Lerner highlights that both TSCA and its reform bills were heavily lobbied and co-written by the chemical industry. Also, neither of the reform bills addresses the issue that companies are allowed to introduce new chemicals to the market without prior safety testing, Lerner notes.

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Sharon Lerner (January 11, 2016). “Toxic ‘reform’ law will gut state rules on dangerous chemicals.