SOCMA Supports Congressional Review of TSCA

SOCMA President Sloan suggested that TSCA has been effective and modernizing the law is an action that should be carefully undertaken.

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA), in a statement submitted on Feb. 3 to a key U.S. Senate environmental panel, provided support for a bipartisan look at the nation's chemical control law, urging lawmakers to carefully consider the many factors that govern the statute before rushing to overhaul the law.

SOCMA's statement was submitted to a hearing on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) before the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, chaired by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

"SOCMA understands that TSCA modernization is a complex issue that deserves close scrutiny,” SOCMA President Lawrence D. Sloan wrote. “Many relevant factors should be considered, most of which, we believe, fall outside the statute itself."

Sloan added that TSCA critics selectively cite chemical statistics that paint an incomplete picture of the law’s effectiveness. He underscored the fact that these statistics alone make it appear as if TSCA has failed due to a relatively low number of restricted chemicals when, in fact, there is a great deal of testing conducted. He added that most chemicals can be used safely and therefore do not require additional restrictions. He continued by noting that there are many other federal laws that govern chemicals management and that advances in the field of analytical chemistry should be acknowledged before placing blame solely on TSCA for increased exposures.

SOCMA asked that the subcommittee consider a variety of metrics to evaluate TSCA including the number of:

  • new chemicals reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 5 since TSCA’s inception,
  • Pre-Manufacturing Notices (PMN) that were withdrawn as a result of those reviews,
  • PMNs whose review periods were voluntarily suspended while the submitter conducted tests or gathered other data,
  • Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) issued by EPA,
  • existing chemicals actually in commerce.

“Ultimately, success will not depend solely or primarily on how many chemicals are restricted, but on the net health, environmental, and economic effects of implementing these laws,” Sloan said.

On April 13, SOCMA members will directly take their message to Congress and discuss their position with lawmakers and their staff during SOCMA Connect's fourth annual Washington Fly-in.

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