Law & Order

U.S. Congress Reaches Agreement on Revised Toxic Chemical Law

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Congress has reached agreement on a bipartisan plan to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—legislation to provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with broad new duties and powers to regulate hazardous chemicals. Lawmakers and industry have been seeking to overhaul the 1976 law, which governs thousands of chemicals found in a diverse range of products, from paint thinners to clothing. 

The proposed updates to the law seek to provide the industry with a single federal regulatory system for testing and regulating potentially dangerous chemicals, rather than the current patchwork of state rules. Under current law, the EPA must prove that a chemical poses a potential risk before it can demand health and safety data or require testing. Since the substance can automatically enter the marketplace after 90 days, a number of states have enacted their own restrictions. Under the new approach, the EPA would have the authority to direct companies to test products in exchange for a uniform rule that supersedes state rules. The legislation has been approved by the House and is pending in the Senate.

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at