On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The legislation overhauls the nation’s 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which regulates the introduction of new or already existing chemicals in the United States.
In response to the long-awaited reform of federal chemicals policy, Andy Igrejas, the director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a broad coalition of health, environmental, labor and business organizations, issued the following statement:
“President Obama’s signature on this bill marks both the end of a long process, and the beginning of a new chapter as the EPA puts its new authority to work. The chemical backlog is enormous. It’s vital that EPA starts strong and extracts the maximum public health benefits possible from the new law.
“Because of the limitations in this bill, however, it will also be crucial that the growing demand for safer chemicals continue across society, from state and local governments, retailers, manufacturers, and informed consumers.”
The passage of this bill marked the end of a multiyear campaign to strengthen it, which was supported by many organizations, including Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. These groups met with both success and failure in these efforts due to the influence of the chemical industry, and are now focused on ensuring that the implementation of the act, including regulatory rule making, is strong. For more information on the story of the bill’s passage, see Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ blog post, and for a rundown of the major highlights of the bill, see their fact sheet.