(Washington, DC) – With legislation to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for
the first time in almost 35 years close to being introduced later this month in the House, a
coalition of health care providers and manufacturers of consumer products said three things need
to be included in the bill to ensure maximum effectiveness.
These organizations want TSCA updated because the toxicity of the majority of chemicals
commonly used in commerce is unknown. Current law allows chemical suppliers to provide
little to no information on the ingredients of their chemicals to the manufacturers.
To address these concerns, manufacturers and health care providers (downstream users of
chemicals) have joined forces with environmental organizations to form the Business-NGO
Working Group (BizNGO). The group has 200 members and is focused on promoting the
creation, adoption and use of safer chemicals and sustainable materials.
In a letter to Reps. Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush, BizNGO Chair Mark Rossi applauded the
pending legislation and identified three measures that would address the need for greater
transparency and make the bill even more effective:
- A requirement to disclose chemical ingredients across the supply chain (with confidentialbusiness information protections).
- A provision to allow the US Environmental Protection Action to collect chemical use data as needed for safety determinations.
- A minimum requirement to provide consumers with information on chemicals of high concern in products.
Although the current draft legislation rightly focuses on increasing the quantity and quality of
toxicity information available on chemicals in commerce, it does not require chemical-makers to
clearly communicate the ingredients they use to users down the supply chain, leaving these
manufacturers limited in their ability to choose safer, less toxic ingredients.
“Without providing specific chemical use information down the supply chain, no one will
be able to restore public confidence by ensuring the safety of chemicals in everyday
products – not the product manufacturer, not the chemical producer and not the federal
government,” Rossi wrote.
TSCA has not been updated since it was passed 34 years ago, leaving the public exposed to
chemicals that have not undergone sufficient health and safety testing. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) has only required testing on approximately 200 of the more than
80,000 chemicals on the market. This is a major public health hazard that must be addressed.