Washington Watch - GAO Recommends TSCA Improvements, and a Senate Bill Responds with a Proposal

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

In June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report critical of the federal government’s ability under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to assess and prevent risks from new and existing chemical substances. Entitled Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA's Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program,1 the report is not the first (or likely the last) word from GAO on what it believes to be TSCA’s inherent inability to identify and address risks posed by chemical substances.

Release of the GAO report coincided with the introduction by Senators Frank Lautenberg and James Jeffords of the Kid Safe Chemicals Act (S. 1391), a bill intended to improve children’s health by reducing exposure to harmful toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products and otherwise address the deficiencies in TSCA outlined in the report.

Chemical manufacturers disagree with the premise of both the GAO report and the proposed Senate bill. They believe that legislative changes to TSCA are not needed to increase the law's effectiveness.

This “Washington Watch” column reviews the GAO report, the proposed Kid Safe Chemicals Act, and the outlook for both.

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