Monday, June 7, 2010

Downstream User Groups Comment on Upcoming House TSCA Chemical Reform Bill

As the House readies its formal introduction of their version of the TSCA reform bill, called the Toxic Substances Safety Act, various stakeholders are offering their views on what it should include. Or more accurately perhaps, what it shouldn't include. Friday I talked about what SOCMA thinks in representing their mostly smaller specialty chemical manufacturers. Today are downstream user organizations such as the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA, soon to become the American Cleaning Institute).

Like other industry trade associations, these downstream user (DU) groups see the need for TSCA modernization. But they are also concerned about the burden this may put on DUs. One of their primary concerns with the discussion draft seems to be the language that would expand TSCA to cover all chemical substances, mixtures, and articles (things made from substances and mixtures). As written, they say, "every single change to a mixture and article would constitute a 'new use' and require notification and approval by EPA." Given that consumer product manufacturers routinely "substitute new ingredients, use alternate material suppliers, switch among color shades and scents, and tweak formulations to rebalance existing ingredients in different proportions," such language could become a nightmare for downstream users. Which is one of the reasons that I think the mixture and article provisions will likely be dropped from the final bill and dealt with separately.

The DUs have many other concerns as well, and some of which overlap the major and specialty manufacturers' complaints like, e.g., questions about the minimum data set, priority setting, safety standards, CBI, etc. I'll look at each of these in more depth in future posts.

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