Yesterday, with the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) proudly in attendance, President Obama signed legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, which will provide EPA with new authority to regulate chemicals that were on the market before 1976 and also new chemicals entering the marketplace. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was signed at 11:30 am in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC before a small group of leaders from government, industry and NGOs.
In remarks before the signing, President Obama said the new legislation “will make it easier for the EPA to review chemicals already on the market, as well as the new chemicals our scientists and our businesses design. It will do away with an outdated bureaucratic formula to evaluate safety, and instead focus solely on the risks to our health. And it will finally grant our scientists and our public servants at the EPA the funding they need to get the job done and keep us safe.”
Obama thanked the Members of Congress, trade groups, industry and NGOs and praised the bipartisan effort where Democrats and Republicans came together to get legislation written and passed. “That doesn’t happen very often these days,” said the President. “So this is a really significant piece of business.”
Chris Cathcart, President and CEO of CSPA said, “We are proud of the role we have played in the process of TSCA modernization over the past eight years. Hard work and a commitment to collaboration have resulted in legislation that is good for consumers and for our members as well.”
In addition to Cathcart, also attending the signing ceremony were CSPA Board Chair Bill Auriemma (Diversified CPC), Immediate Past Chair Paul Siracusa (Church & Dwight), Board members Steve Goldberg (BASF) and Kelly Semrau (SC Johnson) and CSPA members Diane Boesenberg (RB), Sean Broderick and Julie Froelicher (P&G). CSPA Executive Vice President Phil Klein — who with legislative counsel Ben Dunham (Holland & Knight) – led the association’s advocacy efforts, also attended.
“It is great to see Members of Congress from both parties, environmental advocacy groups and industry all working together to provide EPA the tools and resources necessary to build confidence in the U.S. chemicals program” Klein said. The CSPA group also had a chance to talk with Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of the late Frank Lautenberg for whom the bill is named.
Next Steps: Implementation of the Act
Klein said that as TSCA shifts to the implementation phase, CSPA’s focus will transition from legislative advocacy to working with our members to provide technical expertise and to file comments on the EPA’s proposed regulations to implement provisions of the new law. Building on the association’s successful collaborative work with government agencies and NGOs to develop and pass the legislation, CSPA staff is already unpacking the intricacies of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to ensure that members have the information essential to operate in compliance and to avoid pitfalls. “It is critical that member companies become involved now in developing the technical guidance that will shape the next 40 years of chemicals regulation,” Klein added.
EPA will complete a TSCA inventory reset and develop guidance on chemical prioritization and on risk evaluation. Here are a few of the critical questions EPA will ask as it develops guidance in the near future.
- How does a company assure its chemicals remain in the market?
- Which chemicals will be considered high-priority? Low-priority?
- How will EPA perform risk evaluations on a chemical of interest to a company?
- How will EPA have a clear understanding of the uses of specific chemicals?
- How will EPA protect confidential business information and how has this process changed?
- How will the fees be assessed?
To provide input in addressing these questions, CSPA members can become involved with the association’s Regulatory Governmental Affairs Advisory Council (GAAC) which has the technical expertise essential to assist companies and to provide input to EPA on these complex matters. Contact Tim Brown firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Bennett email@example.com to become involved.
Another way to provide valuable input in the regulatory process is by participating in a group administered by CSPA’s affiliate organization — the Research & Regulatory Management Council (RRMC). This service has assisted task forces in responding to FIFRA regulations, and is poised to do the same with the new TSCA requirements. (www.rrmc.expert)