Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chemicals in Commerce Act under review - but what is it?

New legislation in committee that will affect ALL of the chemical industry:
The subcommittee for Environment and the Economy in the US House of Representatives is holding a hearing today regarding an updated draft of the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA). CICA, introduced by Illinois representative and committee chairman John Shimkus, is intended to replace and improve upon the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) from 1976.

What is it? 
According to the current draft of the bill, which can be found here, “The purpose of this Act is to promote uniform protection to human health and the environment through regulating chemical substances in commerce while minimizing undue burdens on commerce.”

The bill intends to standardize regulations for chemicals, sorting them into “low priority” or “high priority” categories. Low priority chemicals are “not likely to pose an unreasonable risk of harm to human health or the environment” and will be subject to little or no regulation. High priority chemicals will be assessed by the EPA, who may require information from the manufacturers or testing. The EPA can then determine what regulatory action to take regarding those chemicals.

The Good 
According to the February 27 Discussion Draft, the Act will benefit public health and the environment while stimulating the economy and creating “countless American jobs.”

The Bad
However, the bill faces some strong opposition. The Center for Environmental Health opposes it strongly, stating that it lessens the EPA’s regulatory power toward dangerous chemicals and allows chemical companies to conceal information about the chemicals they produce and sell. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition also released a document critiquing CICA for weakening the EPA’s regulatory power and allowing potentially dangerous chemicals into the marketplace with little testing or assessment.

What's Next?
The bill is still under review, though, so many of these details could change in the coming months. Red-Line will be watching CICA’s development closely, so follow our blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay updated! In the meantime, check out the sources provided below to see both sides of the issue:

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