EDF Applauds House-Senate Agreement on Chemical Safety Reform

Historic TSCA Agreement Paves Way for First Major Environmental Overhaul in Decades

May 23, 2016
Keith Gaby, (202) 572-3336, kgaby@edf.org

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today applauded the news of a House-Senate agreement on chemical safety reform that has now earned the support of Congressional leaders of both parties in both the House and Senate.

“We are very pleased to hear that leaders in the Senate and House have come to an agreement to reform our badly broken chemical safety system,” said Dr. Richard Denison, EDF Lead Senior Scientist. “This historic milestone has been many years in the making. All of those in Congress who had the courage to work across party lines to finally begin protecting American families from the dangers of toxic chemicals deserve our thanks. In particular, we must salute the leadership of Senators Udall, Vitter, Inhofe, Boxer, Carper, Merkley, Whitehouse, Booker, Markey and Durbin; as well as Representatives Upton, Pallone, Shimkus, Pelosi, Hoyer, DeGette and Green. The Lautenberg Act represents the most significant environmental legislation in decades and will, over time, dramatically improve EPA’s ability to protect the health of all Americans.”

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act addresses critical flaws in TSCA. The Lautenberg Act is the product of three years of negotiations, begun by its namesake, the late public health champion Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). The House passed a streamlined bill in June of 2015 by a vote of 398-1, while the Senate passed broader legislation by unanimous voice vote in December 2015. The agreement reconciles those two bills.

The new bill requires safety reviews for all new and existing chemicals. It fixes the safety standard that prevented EPA from banning asbestos and other harmful chemicals. It gives EPA enhanced testing authority, sets aggressive deadlines for action, reins in chemical industry trade secret claims and broadens access to chemical safety information.

The House is scheduled to consider the bill on Tuesday, with the Senate to follow soon after.

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