Friday, February 20, 2009
House Subcommittee to Hold TSCA Reform Hearings Soon
Seems the US House of Representatives may begin hearings shortly on the US Toxic Substances Control Act. As I've reported here in the past, there has been much pressure to "reform" TSCA. To some this means a complete rewriting of the legislation in the form of the Kid-Safe Chemical Act (KSCA), which was introduced originally in 2005 and again in 2008. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey has said he plans to reintroduce the KSCA into this Congress within the next few weeks.
In conjunction with the planned reintroduction of the KSCA in the Senate (and an identical companion bill in the House), the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection is expected to hold the first oversight hearings on the Hill as early as next week. This particular subcommittee gained the authority for oversight only after newly installed Chair of the House Environment and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman completely reorganized how the committee works.
The news of the subcommittee hearings comes on the heels of a letter sent by the advocacy organization, Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG's letter, addressed to new EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, strongly supports the KSCA (which they now refer to as "Kid-Safe") and offers a series of suggestions for EPA to take while they are waiting for KSCA - or some other version of TSCA reform- to be passed. The suggestions are:
1) Make children's environmental health a top EPA priority
2) Test umbilical cord blood for industrial chemicals
3) Improve public access to chemical toxicity data
4) Revamp voluntary programs under which industry has submitted data
5) Enforce TSCA
6) Challenge dubious or unsubstantiated Confidential Business Information
7) Keep persistent, bioaccumulative toxins off the market