BETHESDA, MD - A number of Senate Republicans and Democrats have introduced a bipartisan proposal to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA) (S.1009) will ensure that all chemicals are screened to protect public health and the environment while also creating a legislative framework that allows industry participants, such as members of the Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC), to continue to innovate.

According to an Executive Briefing developed by the ASC, the proposed legislation incorporates a number of principles the ASC deems important to TSCA reform.

The ASC briefing notes that S. 1009 does not change how mixtures or articles are addressed from the current TSCA law. While EPA retains the authority to regulate mixtures and articles, it has rarely done so and has adopted various administrative exemptions.

The briefing also reports that S. 1009 would require the EPA to undertake an evaluation prioritization of all active chemicals in commerce with a designation of either “high” or “low” priority based on potential risk to human health or the environment. EPA would concentrate its efforts on conducting further evaluations on the high-priority chemicals. It is expected that this approach would remove most of the 80,000 untested chemicals from the review process because of their low priority designation and allow EPA to concentrate its resources on safety assessments for the more problematic chemicals. ASC believes this is the correct approach to the prioritization of chemicals.

The bipartisan Senate bill maintains the CBI protections mandated in the present TSCA law. ASC stated that the organization believes CBI provisions outlined in S. 1009 allow companies the opportunity to substantiate its CBI claims, including not having to disclose specific chemicals or formulation percentages.

The briefing also weighed in on the protection of interstate commerce under TSCA reform. The proposed would allow EPA regulatory actions to preempt state and local chemical regulatory requirements to the extent of EPA decisions. Decisions by EPA to designate a substance as high or low priority would only preempt future state/local regulations, but existing state/local requirements would only continue in force until EPA made a safety determination. States would have the opportunity to seek a waiver from the preemptive effect of an EPA decision. It should be noted that even under the current TSCA law, states and localities could apply for exemptions from EPA decisions, but this process has rarely been used.