According to reports, both houses of Congress introduced legislation on April 15 that would overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) and the way the federal government protects the public from toxic chemicals.

The Safe Chemicals Act requires safety testing of all industrial chemicals compelling manufacturers to prove that chemicals are safe. According to EHS Today reporting, current policy dictates that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can call for safety testing only after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical is dangerous. As a result, the EPA has been able to require testing for only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances.

The new legislation will give the EPA more power to regulate the use of dangerous chemicals and require manufacturers to submit information proving the safety of every existing or emerging chemical.

The Safe Chemicals Act would:
• Provide the EPA with sufficient information to judge a chemical’s safety.
• Require manufacturers to develop and submit a minimum data set for each chemical they produce, while also preventing duplicative or unnecessary testing.
• Prioritize chemicals based on risk, with the EPA focusing resources on evaluating chemicals most likely to cause harm.
• Ensure a safety threshold is met for all chemicals on the market.
• Place the burden of proof on chemical manufacturers to prove the safety of their chemicals. All uses must be identified and determined safe for the chemical to enter the market or continue to be used.
• Take fast action to address highest risk chemicals. In addition, the EPA administrator is given authority to act quickly if any chemical poses an imminent hazard.
• Create open access to reliable chemical information.
• Promote innovation and development of green chemistry.

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