[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (2)
    • Announcements (587)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (27)
    • Antimicrobial (8)
    • Aquaculture (27)
    • Aquatic Organisms (24)
    • Bats (4)
    • Beneficials (40)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (20)
    • Biomonitoring (34)
    • Birds (14)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (27)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (8)
    • Children (58)
    • Children/Schools (228)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (2)
    • Climate Change (54)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (1)
    • contamination (115)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (10)
    • Drift (2)
    • Drinking Water (3)
    • Emergency Exemption (2)
    • Environmental Justice (136)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (303)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (155)
    • fish (6)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungicides (12)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (13)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (3)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (10)
    • Holidays (29)
    • Household Use (5)
    • Indigenous People (1)
    • Infectious Disease (2)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (62)
    • Invasive Species (31)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (218)
    • Litigation (317)
    • Livestock (5)
    • Metabolites (2)
    • Microbiata (11)
    • Microbiome (11)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Occupational Health (2)
    • Pesticide Drift (144)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (2)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (708)
    • Pesticide Residues (160)
    • Pets (25)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Poisoning (4)
    • Preemption (25)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (1)
    • Resistance (97)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (26)
    • Seeds (3)
    • synergistic effects (7)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (8)
    • Take Action (511)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (6)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (391)
    • Women’s Health (8)
    • Wood Preservatives (27)
    • World Health Organization (4)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

21
Dec

Senate Passes Bill to Overhaul Toxics Law with Multiple Flaws

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2015) Last week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation (S.697, Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act) by unanimous consent to update  the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the national law that regulates industrial chemicals. Before the bill becomes law, it must go to conference committee to iron out the differences of a much different version of the bill approved in June by the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 2576, TSCA Modernization Act of 2015). If the differences are reconciled and passed by both Houses of Congress, it will  then go to President Obama for signature.

Capitol-SenateMike Belliveau, executive director of Environmental Health Strategy Center in Maine, in a press release, issued the following statement in response to the Senate action: “Although improved, the Senate bill remains badly flawed. In a shameful give-away to chemical manufacturers and other multinational industries, the Senate bill would actually weaken current law.” The House bill lacks the same flaws that appear in the Senate bill. The House bill does not give a free pass to toxic toys or take away (preempt) the authority of the states to regulate these toxic materials.

The serious problems with the Senate bill include the following:

  • The legislation makes it more difficult for EPA to identify and intercept imported products containing a toxic chemical.
  • States will be blocked (preempted) from taking action while EPA studies a chemical, potentially delaying urgent public health interventions.
  • The “low priority” category requires EPA to greenlight some chemicals without a thorough safety review.
  • There are numerous requirements placed on EPA at industry’s behest that divert scarce resources from the core purpose of identifying and restricting chemicals that cause harm.

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides commented on the bill: “We know from our experience with pesticide regulation that when it comes to restricting uses  of toxic chemicals, it is absolutely critical to preserve the right of states to adopt more stringent standards than the federal government. Historically, it very often is the action of states that has lead the way in protecting health and environment, with federal regulation following. Because of this, it is an absolute bottom line to ensure that states have the authority to adopt standards more protective than the federal government without any strings attached, since reviews can go on for extended periods of time. In the pesticide arena, without this right, the nation may have taken years longer or never in the end have banned the use of DDT, DBCP, 2,4,5-T, EDB, and chlordane.”

In 2011, the first version of a TSCA overhaul  bill, titled the Safe Chemicals Act, was introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg. That bill would have instituted a risk assessment methodology, similar to the one used on pesticides today, which, in theory, requires chemical companies to prove that their products are “safe” for human health and the environment before allowed into commerce. In reality, EPA’s risk assessment fails to look at chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, certain health endpoints (such as endocrine disruption), disproportionate effects to vulnerable population groups, and regular noncompliance with product label directions. In the end risks may be allowed that are unnecessary, given the availability of less or non-toxic alternatives. These deficiencies contribute to its severe limitations in defining real world poisoning, as captured by epidemiologic studies in the database. Beyond Pesticides has long criticized the risk assessment methodology used by EPA under pesticide law,  encouraging an alternatives assessment which creates a regulatory trigger to adopt alternatives and drive the market to go green.

Then, in 2013, Senator Lautenberg partnered with Senator David Vitter to introduce S.1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA). In August 2013, nine state Attorneys General sent a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee expressing their “deep concerns about unduly broad preemption language proposed in S.1009.” The proposed bill would have amended TSCA, which in its current form requires no testing of chemicals, including intermediate chemicals and so-called inert and often highly toxic ingredients used in the production of pesticides (pesticide use is regulated under a separate law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act).

Manufacturers are only required to provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with  90 days premarket notification before a new chemical is introduced for public consumption. Even after entering the market, the testing and regulation thresholds for these chemicals are grossly inadequate. The major downfalls of TSCA are that testing is not done unless health effects are reported and an investigation is opened. Even then, the chemicals will not be regulated unless the contaminated product is produced in significant amounts, enters the environment in a substantial quantity or if there is significant human exposure.

Similarly to previous versions of TSCA overhaul  bills, the current form that has just passed through the Senate takes away states’ rights to prohibit dangerous chemicals, also known as state preemption. According to the Environmental Health Strategy Center’s press release, the Senate bill “takes away states’ rights in a manner unprecedented in the history of federal environmental policymaking.   It blocks states like Maine and California from restricting dangerous chemicals after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency simply begins to study a chemical’s danger.   That means that known dangerous chemicals will remain unattended at any level of government for years.   Even though the federal government hasn’t yet acted on a high priority chemical, states will be banned from taking action.”

The Senate bill would prevent states from regulating chemicals  months or even years  before a single protective federal regulation becomes effective, leaving an enormous gap in chemical safety protections and exposing human health and the environment to undue harm. State authorities, public health groups, and environmental advocates alike have cause for concern. Lobbying for  preemption laws is a tried and true practice of the chemical industry. Arguing under the guise of coherence and a unified national approach, chemical industry leaders would prefer weaker, uniform standards that fail to account for localized needs and sensitive populations.

Beyond Pesticides continues to fight for strong, public protections against chemicals in our homes and environment and any form of legislation that would diminish the right of communities and individuals alike to establish protective laws, regulations, and standards in the face of involuntary exposure.

Source: Environmental Health Strategy Center’s Press Release; Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ Press Release

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Share

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (2)
    • Announcements (587)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (27)
    • Antimicrobial (8)
    • Aquaculture (27)
    • Aquatic Organisms (24)
    • Bats (4)
    • Beneficials (40)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (20)
    • Biomonitoring (34)
    • Birds (14)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (27)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (8)
    • Children (58)
    • Children/Schools (228)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (2)
    • Climate Change (54)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (1)
    • contamination (115)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (10)
    • Drift (2)
    • Drinking Water (3)
    • Emergency Exemption (2)
    • Environmental Justice (136)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (303)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (155)
    • fish (6)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungicides (12)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (13)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (3)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (10)
    • Holidays (29)
    • Household Use (5)
    • Indigenous People (1)
    • Infectious Disease (2)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (62)
    • Invasive Species (31)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (218)
    • Litigation (317)
    • Livestock (5)
    • Metabolites (2)
    • Microbiata (11)
    • Microbiome (11)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Occupational Health (2)
    • Pesticide Drift (144)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (2)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (708)
    • Pesticide Residues (160)
    • Pets (25)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Poisoning (4)
    • Preemption (25)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (1)
    • Resistance (97)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (26)
    • Seeds (3)
    • synergistic effects (7)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (8)
    • Take Action (511)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (6)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (391)
    • Women’s Health (8)
    • Wood Preservatives (27)
    • World Health Organization (4)
  • Most Viewed Posts