Congressman Bobby Rush chairs the subcommittee that is in charge of developing the TSCA reform legislation in the US House of Representatives. Along with Henry Waxman, chair of the full committee, Rush introduced the House version of the Toxic Substances Safety Act in April. Recently he offered his views on what in his mind "must" be in the final legislation.
* First, revamped legislation must put the responsibility, and liability, for ensuring the safety of chemical substances squarely at the feet of the manufacturers who produce and sell the substances.
* The Federal government must have the ability to effectively monitor, test or otherwise oversee assorted industries through strengthened legislation.
* Legislation should protect populations that are the most vulnerable to ingesting or being exposed to environmental toxins, but are least able to obtain redress from their government.
* The Environmental Protection Agency should have greater oversight authority to allow it to quickly respond to evidence of environmental toxins.
* New chemical compounds should also pass rigorous safety standards before they are introduced to the marketplace.
The House has been holding meetings to hear from a variety of stakeholders on the discussion draft previously circulated. Apparently there has been cooperation across the aisle to come up with a workable bill to which both parties can agree. The hope is that the formal House legislation will be introduced this summer, but with only a handful of actual legislative days left in the term and a busy campaign season coming up, it's unclear if any action will take place in this Congress.