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Dropping their dueling bills, two senators on Wednesday introduced a new measure that would modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by requiring new tests for chemicals already on the market and granting broad new regulatory authority to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Congress has debated changing the chemical regulation law since it was originally signed in 1976, though the EPA announced reform initiatives in 2009, along with a new approach for evaluating and managing toxic chemicals safely under the existing law and a long list of chemicals the agency wanted to tackle first.
As introduced, the new measure would:
- Require safety evaluation for all active chemicals already on the market, which must eventually be labeled as high- or low-risk to human health or the environment.
- Require additional safety evaluation by the EPA for chemicals considered high-risk or particularly risky for children and pregnant women.
- Expand EPA authority to include the authority to obtain health and safety information from manufacturers, prioritize rules regulating chemicals, imposing safety requirements such as labeling, and phasing out or banning chemicals is necessary.
- Allow states and municipalities to have input on prioritization and safety assessment, including a timely response from EPA regarding local concerns.
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