WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Barack Obama signed into law the first overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act in 40 years the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. This landmark bill passed the House of Representatives on May 24 on a 403-12 vote and it was approved by the Senate on June 7 by voice vote.
“For nearly a decade, I have worked to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) because it directly affects communities in and around Eastside Houston and Harris County, home to one of the largest collection of chemical facilities in the country,” said Rep. Green. “The reforms contained in the new law will enhance protections for the fence-line communities next to the plants and the workers in our chemical plants, and respond to the concerns of industry to provide regulatory certainty for job creators throughout our economy.”
The legislation received strong bipartisan, bicameral support as well as support from industry, manufacturers, and environmental and public health organizations. Rep. Green added, “President Barack Obama’s signature of the act into law marks a tremendous accomplishment and represents what can be done when leaders in Washington work together.”
The most notable improvements in the bill are:
– Replacing current TSCA’s burdensome safety standard with a pure, health-based standard.
– Explicitly requiring the protection of vulnerable populations, like children, pregnant women, and workers at chemical facilities.
– Requiring a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed to go to market.
– Giving EPA new authority to order testing and ensure chemicals are safe, with a focus on the most risky chemicals.