News Analysis

EPA Seeks Stronger Regulation of Chemicals

Under TSCA, manufacturers currently aren’t required to demonstrate that a chemical is safe before it is introduced. “If EPA has adequate data and wants to protect the public against known risks,” said Jackson, “the law creates obstacles to quick and effective action.” Since 1976, EPA has regulated only five chemicals out of almost 80,000 that are in use. And even when the agency has taken action, as it did in banning asbestos in 1989 after years of study, the hurdles under TSCA are so high that such actions can be overturned in the courts—as occurred with asbestos.

Jackson’s remarks coincided with the EPA’s release of “Essential Principles for Reform of Chemicals Management Legislation,” a list of six principles to “help inform efforts underway in this Congress to reauthorize and significantly strengthen the effectiveness of TSCA.” These principles are as follows:

Published October 30, 2009 Permalink