The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health voice voted (10 to 8) to send the latest version of the Senate Bill 847, Lautenberg's "Safe Chemicals Act"  for floor vote.  Republicans are not happy and feel they've been locked out, but haven't offered counter-language so the Dems are blowing them off.   Interestingly, Jim Jones, the EPA AA on TSCA, declined to state a position on the bill.  The likelihood of anything coming out of this Congress is slim to none.

The hearing held by Boxer on the 24th ended with her making the panel vote "yes" or "no" only on the question "Do you agree that chemical manufacturers should have to prove, through objective studies, that their products are safe for pregnant women, for infants and children before they can sell their products in the U.S."  Not surprisingly, the industry reps declined to vote since she wouldn't let them talk about function (e.g., pharmaceuticals) or risk - hazard and exposure (e.g., industrial intermediates, wine).  It's this simplistic approach that makes changes to TSCA so challenging.

See previous blogs on TSCA Reform

A summary of changes published by Lautenberg(?) describes:

- allowing a lesser, screening minimum test set on new chemicals

- better prioritization via tiered batches of 6,000 chemicals over 5 year periods with three levels of concern - very low concern, need more info (minimum data set), and very high concern.

- Very High Concern (SVHC in REACH-talk) get expedited safety standards and risk management - which means they can issue administrative orders with no judicial review instead of that messy notice and comment rulemaking process.

- EPA is to rely on existing information first before requiring additional information/testing only to the extent necessary to determine safety.

- CDR is now detailed in law for processors - but only as necessary for implementation of the act and have value commensurate with the burden of reporting.  (At least there's rulemaking.)

- "Safety" is still defined as "there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to human health or the environment from aggregate exposure to the chemical substance."

- Confidentiality is supposed to be a little easier to claim now.  There seems to be some convoluted language on allowing chemical identity to be protected for a limited time if the chemical isn't carcinogen or other "-gen" or a PBT

Watch for my own "markup" later.  That will take awhile, as they've replaced 86 pages of the previous version with 174 new pages, making the total bill now 270 pages long - and that's before anyone gets a chance to add in amendments on the floor.  

Special interests continue to write detailed instructions into law that are de facto regulations that then cause agencies to issue nanoscale detail in their regulations to be later "clarified" by the courts.  Whatever happened to setting goals and allowing experts work together to find the most efficient and effective way to achieve and enforce those goals? 

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