Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Summary of Congressional Hearings on TSCA Chemical Control

As I noted yesterday, the House held a hearing on November 17th, 2009 to discuss prioritization of chemicals for control in the United States. This is part of the process for introducing a reform (or "modernization") of TSCA, the prevailing chemical control law for the last 33 years.

Here's a quick summary of the main points from each speaker's testimony. I will do more in-depth reviews of each in the following days.

Steve Owens, Assistant Administrator in EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, indicated that EPA does not have sufficient authority to reevaluate existing chemicals that were grandfathered into the Inventory at the time of its creation. He explained that EPA will prioritize chemicals based on their presence in human blood, whether they are PBTs, their toxicity, and their volume of production. Mr. Owens also mentioned EPA’s plan to issue “action plans” for a set of chemicals every four months, starting in December.

I'll talk more about Steve Owens' testimony tomorrow.

Eric Sampson, Director of the Division of Laboratory Sciences in the National Center for Environmental Health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasized the value of biomonitoring in prioritization efforts.

Daryl Ditz, a Senior Policy Advisor for the Center for International Environmental Law, proposed three ways to fix TSCA, beginning with giving EPA the authority to effectively regulate “the worst of the worst” chemicals.

William J. Greggs, a consultant for the Consumer Specialty Products Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and the Soap and Detergent Association (and formerly with Procter & Gamble), stated that prioritization of chemicals should be based on hazard and exposure.

Beth Bosley, a consultant for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, suggested to the Congresspersons that TSCA should be amended in a way that does not eliminate jobs or useful chemicals.

More analysis will follow in the coming days. Past articles related to TSCA can be found here.

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