Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): Senate and House Bills Compared with Current Law [August 12, 2010]   [open pdf - 471KB]

"On April 15, 2010, Senator Lautenberg introduced legislation (S. 3209) to amend the core provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title I. Representatives Waxman and Rush introduced comprehensive legislation to amend TSCA (H.R. 5820) on July 22, 2010. This report compares key provisions of S. 3209, as introduced, H.R. 5820, as introduced, and current law (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.). Both bills would amend the 35-year-old law to shift the burden of demonstrating safety for chemicals in commerce from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to manufacturers and processors of chemicals. Both bills also would prohibit manufacture, processing, and distribution of any chemical substance or mixture for which safety has not been demonstrated. Although they propose somewhat different safety standards for EPA to enforce, both bills suggest a health-based standard. In contrast, current law requires that a chemical not pose 'an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment,' and that any regulation should control unreasonable risk to the extent necessary using the 'least burdensome' means of available control. This TSCA standard has been interpreted to require cost-benefit balancing. To facilitate safety assessment, the proposals would require data development and submission to EPA for all chemicals in commerce. [...] The proposals differ in many details and in several noteworthy ways. For example, for all existing chemicals that have not been placed on a priority list, data sets must be submitted within 14 years of the date of enactment of S. 3209, but within five years of enactment of H.R. 5820. The proposals also treat the identification of chemicals of highest concern differently. H.R. 5820 directs EPA to expedite action for 19 specified chemicals, while S. 3209 leaves identification of such chemicals to the Administrator's discretion. These and other provisions of the two legislative proposals are compared with current law in Tables 1 through 6."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41335
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