Yesterday, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. This bill, to update the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), passed the House and Senate earlier this year.
U.S. PIRG is disappointed with this law. It is one step forward, and two steps back for public health.
While the new law gives the EPA more authority to test and regulate chemicals than the notoriously ineffective 1976 TSCA law, it unnecessarily preempts state action—both while EPA is merely studying a chemical and after EPA takes final action. States have led the fight to protect us from toxic chemical exposure, and they should be allowed to continue to enact protections that are stronger than the federal floor set by the EPA.
This and other shortcomings in the new law mean that there will still be a great deal of work to do to ensure that our products don’t contain harmful chemicals.