Press Release of Senator Crapo
Senators Reach Groundbreaking Agreement To Reform Nation’s Chemical Laws
Bipartisan legislation would protect Americans from risks posed by exposure to chemicals
Contact: Lindsay Nothern
Washington, D.C. – Today, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, along with Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) and David Vitter (R-Louisana) announced a groundbreaking, bipartisan agreement to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and ensure the safety of everyday consumer products to better protect American families. Their legislation would significantly update and improve TSCA, which has proven ineffective and is criticized by both the public health community and industry. The Lautenberg-Vitter legislation would, for the first time, ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment, while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow, and create jobs.
The Lautenberg-Vitter “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Charles Schumer (D-New York), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisana), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota).
“After almost twenty-five years, Republicans and Democrats have come together on an important and significant environmental reform measure,” said Senator Crapo, Ranking Member of the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health. “The Chemical Safety Improvement Act works to improve the safety of American consumers and ensure that risks from chemical substances are adequately understood and managed, while recognizing the enormous benefit the chemical industry brings to the economy.”
“This bipartisan agreement is an historic step toward meaningful reform that protects American families and consumers. Every parent wants to know that the chemicals used in everyday products have been proven safe, but our current chemical laws fail to give parents that peace of mind,” said Senator Lautenberg, who first introduced legislation to reform TSCA in 2005. “Our bipartisan bill would fix the flaws with current law and ensure that chemicals are screened for safety.”
“Our bill strikes the right balance between strengthening consumer confidence in the safety of chemicals, while also promoting innovation and the growth of an important sector of our economy,” said Senator Vitter, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. “Chemical manufacturing is a big part of Louisiana’s economy and across the country, and the Chemical Safety Improvement Act establishes a program that should provide confidence to the public and consumers, by giving the EPA the tools it needs to make critical determinations while providing a more transparent process. The benefit of such a system is that industry should also have more confidence that the federal system works to facilitate innovation and grow our economy.”
“For far too long, American families have been exposed to chemicals that have never been tested for safety,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bill will finally allow the EPA to test those chemicals that pose the greatest hazard to our children and pregnant women, and it will give the companies that manufacture the chemicals certainty that what they are selling is certified safe across all 50 States.”
“I am proud to be part of this bipartisan group that came together to solve a critical problem, and I hope it serves as a model for future agreements,” said Senator Manchin. “This bill proves that bipartisan compromise can still work in Washington when people are committed to coming together to find commonsense solutions. Our agreement shows that protecting our health and environment does not have to impede our economic growth.”
Senator Alexander said, “This legislation would allow consumers to rest easier, knowing there are protections in place that ensure the chemical products we use are safe. And it would give companies like Eastman Chemical Co., which employs more than 6,000 Tennesseans, the long-overdue clarity in the law they need to better innovate and create jobs in our 21st-century economy.”
The legislation also has the support of public health advocates and chemical industry representatives.
“This bill is both a policy and political breakthrough. It gives EPA vital new tools to identify chemicals of both high and low concern, and to reduce exposure to those that pose risks. And while this bill represents a hard-fought compromise, it opens, at last, a bipartisan path forward to fix our badly outmoded system to ensure the safety of chemicals in everyday use,” said Richard Denison, Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund.
“From life-saving medicines, to energy efficient build materials, chemistry is responsible for countless innovations that have transformed society. America’s chemical industry is a critical source of economic growth and good-paying jobs across the country. Achieving sound, balanced TSCA reform that enhances public confidence in the safety of chemicals and enables America to remain the world’s leading innovator is our top priority,” said Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “This bipartisan compromise legislation will put safety first, while also promoting innovation, economic growth and job creation – goals that are critical to our industry, to our nearly 800,000 employees and to the many other industries that rely on the products of chemistry.”
In contrast to existing law, the Lautenberg-Vitter “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” would:
Under current law, the EPA can call for safety testing only after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical may be dangerous. As a result, EPA has only been able to require testing for roughly 200 of the more than 84,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States, and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances since TSCA was first enacted in 1976. These shortfalls led the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify TSCA as a “high risk” area of the law in 2009.