Recently the House held hearings on reform of the over 30-year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and yesterday the Senate followed suit with its own hearing. Yesterday also was important because thirteen US states released "a set of principles designed to ensure that the debate over reforming the nationâ€™s outdated chemical policy stays focused on protecting public health and the environment."
â€œCurrent federal chemical regulations fail to adequately protect the nationâ€™s citizens and environment from toxic chemicals and unsafe products,â€ said David Littell, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. â€œThe effects of exposure to toxic chemicals on human health, the environment, and the economy are enormous and often avoidable.â€
Not surprisingly, California is one of the states taking action. In addition, Maine and Washington are taking state level action. The other states contributing to the principles are Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
The eight recommendations listed are:
1) Require Chemical Data Reporting
2) Demonstrate Chemicals and Products are Safe
3) Prioritize Chemicals of Concern
4) Protect the Most Vulnerable
5) Promote Safer Chemicals and Products
6) Address Emerging Contaminants
7) Strengthen Federal Law & Preserve States' Rights
8) Fund State Programs
A press release summarizing these recommendation is available on the Maine DEP web site. I'll continue to monitor developments both on the state and federal levels. See here for the opening remarks of yesterday's Senate hearing. I'll post summaries of the remarks of all the witnesses in the following days as well as analysis of what all these hearings mean for the modernization of TSCA.