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U.S. approves major update to chemicals regulation

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Environment Materials

If enacted, the bill would be the first major update to the Toxic Substances Control Act in almost 40 years.

The U.S. House of representatives has approved a bipartisan bill to update regulation of harmful chemicals for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Both the House bill and a similar measure in the Senate would set safety standards for tens of thousands of chemicals that now are unregulated.

The Senate is expected to vote on a similar bill next month.

The bills also would offer protections for people, such as pregnant women, children and workers, who are vulnerable to the effects of chemicals, and set deadlines for the Environmental Protection Agency to act.


If enacted into law, the bill would be the first significant update to Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since the law was adopted in 1976. The 1976 TSCA currently in use stipulates that when a company creates a new chemical, the EPA has 90 days to review it and decide how to regulate it. If the EPA does not set regulations within that time, companies are free to use and distribute that chemical as they see fit.

The bill already has the support of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “The inclusive, bipartisan process…has resulted in an approach to TSCA reform that will build confidence in the U.S. chemical regulatory system, protect human health and the environment from significant risks, and meet the commercial and competitive interests of the U.S. chemical industry and the national economy,” ACC president Cal Dooley said in a statement.


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