Thursday, April 29, 2010

Safe Chemicals Act - What is "Expedited Action?"

Yesterday I presented a set of chemicals listed in the House version of the recently introduced TSCA reform bill. These are chemicals for which significant risk has already been documented, and thus the bill provides for "expedited action."

What is "expedited action?"

Oddly enough, it means that manufacturers of the chemical substances listed shall not be required to submit a minimum data set for such chemicals unless and until EPA makes a determination. But it does mean manufacturers must, within 6 months, submit a declaration of safety.

Meanwhile, EPA has 1 year to determine if the manufacturers of the listed substances have established that the substance meets the safety standard. If not, EPA must "take appropriate action" to ensure that the "manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce, use, and disposal of the chemical meets the safety standard. In other words, if the chemical cannot be determined to meet the safety standard within that time frame, EPA has the authority to severely restrict its use or even ban it.

The idea is to deal with these "low hanging fruit" that have been studied for years and that have been found to be problematic. The Act essentially says "enough is enough" and facilitates their removal, or in some cases, a decision that they aren't as bad as their press.