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Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 Reintroduced in Identical Form

On April 10, 2013, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) reintroduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. The bill, which is identical to the one Senator Lautenberg sponsored in the 112th Congress, would effect a significant shift in the U.S. approach to chemical control. In part, the bill would require regulatory clearance of any use of an existing substance not ongoing at the time of enactment; public disclosure of sensitive chemical information that, up until now, businesses have protected to maintain their competitive edge in a global marketplace; submission of data and other use information by chemical processors; and review and "reset" of the TSCA Inventory, which currently contains over 84,000 chemicals. For a detailed discussion of the bill, please see our Summary of the Committee Mark-up of S. 847.

Along with significantly increasing the regulatory authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the bill would require a considerable increase in Federal spending and EPA resources, including staff, as well as in industry user fees. At a time of budget sequestration and EPA furloughs, prospects for comprehensive TSCA reform in 2013 do not appear to be generating the same level of support as in previous years, but a targeted approach may be possible. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) appears poised to release a bipartisan bill that would focus on strengthening those sections of TSCA that have proven difficult for EPA to implement effectively, such as the regulation of existing chemicals, while preserving those provisions that facilitate risk management, such as those governing new chemicals.

To stay updated on Federal and state chemical control developments, visit the Keller and Heckman, LLP TSCA Reform Center.

For more information on TSCA reform or other chemical control matters, please contact Thomas Berger (202.434.4285,