For years, various environmental and industry groups have pushed Congress to do something about regulations in the TSCA. States have acted on their own, in many cases, and have issued their own REACH-type requirements that go beyond what is currently regulated and enforced in the TSCA.
According to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, an update may finally be ready for vote once Congress reconvenes from its summer recess. Speaking on the TSCA at a press conference on August 6, 2015, McConnell said, "The TSCA legislation is another example of something important that enjoys bipartisan support," indicating that it could be a clear victory for both parties.
Although there have been numerous attempts to rewrite the 1976 chemical safety law, lawmakers have come up short for a number of different reasons. The latest potential legislation cosponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) is called the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – one of the late senator's biggest causes was TSCA reform.
If the bill is eventually signed into law, it would make the TSCA much more stringent. It would not only increase penalties for violations, but it would also allow the EPA to review chemicals on public health and safety grounds. Industry costs would not be entered into the equation.
What Does This Mean for Chemical Manufacturers?
Discussion about updates to the TSCA only reinforces the need for chemical organizations to adopt a quality management system (QMS) that facilitates compliance with current and future TSCA regulations. In our section on the TSCA, we've noted how TrackWise can help chemical manufacturers meet domestic and global regulatory requirements, automate quality processes, improve product registration tracking, and more. TrackWise supports a closed-loop system that ensures quality, compliance, and efficiency.
Although the news is positive for those looking for an overhaul of the TSCA, there are still plenty of factors in play that will determine the bill's eventual success. For example, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) is not on board with the Senate bill and prefers a TSCA bill backed in the House. In addition to that, some interest groups are not in favor of an overhaul because they don't want the TSCA to turn into REACH.
Whatever happens, changes are probably on the horizon. Is your organization ready for them?