Monday, November 2, 2009

Auto Industry Worried Chemical Regulations in US Will Look Like Europe's REACH Program

As Senator Lautenberg prepares to introduce chemical control reform legislation in the US, possibly as early as this month, some in the auto industry are worried that they will be severely impacted. But then, maybe not. There is a lot of misinformation out there and everyone seems to be worried about US chemical legislation somehow mirroring the worst parts of REACH, the chemical legislation that has industry frustrated in Europe.

While the reform (or modernization, if you prefer) of the 33 year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is unlikely to look exactly like REACH, there clearly are some facets of REACH that will be in the new law. EPA, industry and the advocacy community all seem to be on the same page with respect to the general principles, but still differ considerably on the details.

The auto industry, and for that matter most other industries, were concerned about potentially significant disruptions to the supply chain as companies not normally considering themselves in the chemicals business were brought into the review process. But the experience of the auto industry in Europe has suggested that even REACH hasn't been as disruptive as they expected. That doesn't mean it has been easy for the smaller firms, but the larger firms have had the resources to be ahead of the game.

So the wait continues to see if the newly introduced chemical control legislation will look like REACH, the previously introduced Kid Safe Chemical Act, or something completely different.

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