Sunday, July 4, 2010

Business-NGO Working Group Calls for TSCA Chemical Reform

The Business-NGO Working Group (BizNGO) issued a call last week for Congress to deal with the sticky problem of confidential business information (CBI) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The BizNGO is especially concerned about how CBI impacts communication down the supply chain. Downstream users say they need to know about what chemical ingredients are in what products, something that is currently hard to do.

In a press release press release issued by Clean Production Action, one of the key players in the BizNGO coalition, Mark Rossi states:

“Downstream businesses, consumers, investors and governments need chemicals and products that have low to no toxicity and degrade into innocuous substances in the environment. But the current lack of data on the hazardous properties of chemicals and their presence in products -- along with other weaknesses in the existing regulatory structure -- makes it extremely difficult to meet this need. While a handful of businesses and health care organizations require full or partial disclosure of chemicals in products from their suppliers, and a few suppliers publicly provide such information, government action is needed to instill transparency on chemical ingredients in products.”

The bottom line is that downstream users want more information from manufacturers of chemicals that they use. They note that in the current law "there is a loophole that permits chemical producers to avoid disclosing ingredients to companies that use them in their products. Therefore, consumer product manufacturers don’t know if their products contain toxic chemicals."

They insist that any new legislation "to update federal chemicals policy must address this issue."

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