The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and California state senators and Dept. of Toxic Substances, not surprisingly, do not like the new Chemical Safety Improvement Act, S. 1009.

State preemption is a big sticking point for the friends of California's Green Chemistry Initiative efforts that have been under development for several years.  How much wiggle room will exist for California to continue its focus on alternatives assessment remains to be seen. (Interestingly, a letter to Sen. Feinstein's office from DTSC legislative staff Tooker has vanished from their website.) The issue may hinge on whether there will be overlap on the chemicals the two agencies tackle first.  Senator Boxer could have significant sway over the bill in the Senate as chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, as she wants to do what's right in "Frank's [Lautenberg's] memory."

EWG also does not like giving up on the no harm from aggregate exposures standard in Lautenberg's previous Safe Chemicals Act and making it really easy for EPA to ban chemicals.  No deadlines. No mandatory up front testing on new chemicals, but they like testing by orders.  Too much trade secret protection and cost/benefit consideration. Their side by side comparison of the two bills is here.

On the other hand, influential Richard Denison, Environmental Defense Fund, supports it.  Pretty much.  Likewise, industry - or at least the major lobbying chemical associations appear to like most of it.  But there's still a lot of fuzziness on just what the safety assessments and determinations will be about and the potential for massive information-gathering that could turn off industry.

Addendum 6/14/13:  No surprise, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families doesn't like it either: they want aggregate exposure protection for vulnerable populations, no state preemption, ability to ban a chemical with few hoops to jump through, deadlines and timetables,  and sufficient data to prove a chemical is low risk.

Prediction:  With several Democrat and Republican co-signers, there should only be some minor changes to come in the Senate.  There might then be enough acceptance by industry for the House to go along to look good.  But if major changes revert to the original Safe Chemicals Act, industry will squawk and the House will stonewall it.

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