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AFPM praises proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President, Charles T. Drevna, has issued a statement in response to the introduction of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (2013) in which he praises Senators David Vitter and Frank Lautenberg for their efforts in introducing the new legislation.

The Lautenberg Vitter legislation will, for the first time, ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment, while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow, and create jobs. Comprehensive reform of chemical regulations is important to consumers and job creating businesses that need the ability to compete in the global marketplace.  

New legislation proposed by the Lautenberg and Vitter, in contrast to existing law, will:

  • Require safety evaluations for all chemicals: All active chemicals in commerce must be evaluated for safety and labelled as either ‘high’ or ‘low’ priority chemical based on potential risk to human health and the environment.  For high priority chemicals, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must conduct further safety evaluations. 
  • Protect public health from unsafe chemicals: If a chemical is found to be unsafe, the EPA has the necessary authority to take action.  This can range from labelling requirements to the full phase out or ban of a chemical.  
  • Prioritise chemicals for review: The EPA will have to transparently assess risk, determine safety, and apply any needed measures to manage risks.
  • Screen new chemicals for safety: New chemicals entering the market must be screened for safety and the EPA is given the authority to prohibit unsafe chemicals from entering the market. 
  • Secure necessary health and safety information: The legislation allows EPA to secure necessary health and safety information from chemical manufacturers, while directing EPA to rely first on existing information to avoid duplicative testing. 
  • Promote innovation and safer chemistry: This legislation provides clear paths to getting new chemistry on the market and protects trade secrets and intellectual property from disclosure. 
  • Protect children and pregnant women: The legislation requires EPA to evaluate the risks posed to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women, when evaluating the safety of a chemical, a provision not included in existing law.
  • Give states and municipalities a say:  States and local governments will have the opportunity to provide input on prioritisation, safety assessment and the safety determination processes, requiring timely response from EPA, and the bill establishes a waiver process to allow state regulations or laws to remain in effect when circumstances warrant it.       

AFPM member companies create the building blocks that enable American manufacturers to produce the many consumer goods used daily, from eyewear, to medications, to the countless products made of plastic. Drevna has outlined that the Senators are to be commended for their role in forging a bipartisan pathway towards modernising the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA). According to him, the AFPM are currently reviewing the details of the new legislation, and are looking forward to continuing working with the established bipartisan group in order to ensure that the modernised TCSA is tiered, targeted and risk based.

Adapted from press releases by Emma McAleavey.

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