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Toxic Substances Control Act Gets Revamped

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The Federal government is finally getting around to revising the way they assess the toxic dangers of new chemicals. bottles The bill, called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, a 1976 law guiding the regulation of thousands of chemicals used in goods in the U.S. The current law is widely maligned as ineffective and out of date, incapable of assessing the safety of all the chemicals in consumer goods today.  “There is a widespread acknowledgement and understanding that nobody is well-served by the current law,” said Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) on the House floor Tuesday, as members voted 403 to 12 to pass the bill. Shimkus was a lead sponsor in the House.  A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate would likely vote on the bill this week. It is expected to pass there, and the White House has said President Barack Obama will sign it.  The law would give the Environmental Protection Agency new authority to evaluate the safety of a chemical before it enters the marketplace. It would also allow EPA to start evaluating the safety of chemicals already known to be risks, including chemicals found to persist in the human body and in the environment. It also limits companies’ ability to claim information about what’s in their products as confidential business information, which means regulators, health providers and the general public will have more access to information.  The law would be especially beneficial for regulating new chemicals, which are introduced at a rate of roughly 700 a year, according to Richard Denison, lead senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. “They will be required to make a safety finding to get on market, which gets away from the passive system we have now,” Denison said. “EPA no longer has to prove evidence of risk before it can require testing.”

From Huff Post  Photo Credit  John Vlahakis

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