ACA Urges Members to Push Chemical Bill
Smelling a long-awaited victory, coating manufacturers are beating the bushes to bring home the first overhaul of chemical safety laws in a generation.
The American Coatings Association is calling on its members to write letters of support for the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA – S.1009), a bill that would provide the first comprehensive update to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
TSCA has been the target of many overhaul efforts over the last 30 years, but the current bill enjoys the rare support of both environmentalists and chemical-related industries, including the paint and coatings industry.
The new chemical management measure was introduced May 22 by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
The bill would allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require safety testing on chemicals now on the market. Current law allows EPA to require testing only if there is evidence that a chemical is dangerous.
ACA has called the measure "groundbreaking," saying that it protects human health "while allowing companies to innovate and create jobs."
"All of ACA’s concerns with chemical management have been addressed in the CSIA: namely, federal preemption, the treatment of mixtures/articles, and confidential business information," the association said on its website.
Thus satisfied, the association is mobilizing its members to get the measure passed.
The bill will require EPA to make safety determinations for chemicals based on intended conditions of use and a risk-based assessment.
Through its CoatingsConnect website, ACA is urging members to submit electronic letters to U.S. senators to co-sponsor the bill. ACA has also developed a new TSCA Reform Web Portal that serves as a resource for members on the legislation.
The portal includes the bill's complete text, background information, sample request amd thank-you letters, and contact information for U.S. Senate offices.
"In order to pass and implement the CSIA, ACA needs support and engagement from all its members," the association said.
What ACA Likes
TSCA was designed to protect the public from unreasonable risk of injury to public health or the environment by regulating the manufacture and sale of chemicals.The law authorizes EPA to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures.
ACA says the new bill will require EPA to make safety determinations for chemicals based on intended conditions of use and a risk-based assessment incorporating exposure, hazard, and use information.
"Of note, the new measure would preempt state and local authorities from banning low-priority chemicals or taking certain activities," according to ACA.
Strengthening federal preemption "was a major objective for ACA, as it was absent in previous proposals for TSCA reform," ACA said.
The proposal also addresses another ACA priority: expanding protection of confidential business information provided by industry on chemical substances, including chemical identity in formulations.