Our updated chemical safety law: The Lautenberg Act

Notable improvements in the law

The Lautenberg Act gives the EPA the tools necessary to ensure the safety of chemicals and significantly strengthen health protections for American families. Notably, the law:

  • Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.
  • Requires a safety finding for new chemicals before they can enter the market.
  • Replaces TSCA's burdensome cost-benefit safety standard—which prevented the EPA from banning asbestos — with a pure, health-based safety standard.
  • Explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women.
  • Gives the EPA enhanced authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals.
  • Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for the EPA decisions.
  • Makes more information about chemicals available, by limiting companies' ability to claim information as confidential, and by giving states and health and environmental professionals access to confidential information they need to do their jobs.

A primer on the new TSCA [PDF]

The long road to reform TSCA

For more than a decade, EDF's experts pressed for reform, issuing a series of groundbreaking reports and papers and using EDF's chemicals blog to provide our perspective on current issues and developments on chemicals policy reform.

Major advances in chemicals policies in other parts of the world and in U.S. states over the past few decades left the U.S. behind in the increasingly global chemicals economy. This updated law holds the promise of bringing U.S. chemicals policy into the 21st century — but only if it is implemented in a health-protective manner. For four long years it suffered serious damage under the Trump administration.

Here’s how we’re fighting to get TSCA back on track