From Dr. Mercola:
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which took effect in 1976, allows high-production volume chemicals to be launched without their chemical identity or toxicity information being disclosed.
It also makes it very difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals. For starters, the act only gives the EPA 90 days to determine if a new chemical poses an unreasonable risk prior to it entering the market.
The EPA states they typically don’t get the toxicity data in time to make such determinations, and as such, the EPA has only regulated five chemicals and requested testing for 200 since 1976. There are about 64,000 chemicals in use right now that are not regulated or tested for environmental repercussions.1
An overhaul of the TSCA is desperately needed and has been for decades, making this month’s Senate approval of an update a monumental occasion. Last month, the House approved the update to the TSCA, and it will now be signed into law.
There are some problems with the update, however — especially it’s timeline. As Bloomberg reported:2
“By the time EPA finishes work on the chemicals it has prioritized, the children of today’s children will have been exposed to them — probably for years.”
TSCA Update: Safety Tests Can Take up to 7 Years Per Chemical
There’s no doubt that the EPA should be testing more chemicals for safety, but the TSCA update doesn’t go far enough to protect Americans.
On the bright side, the new agreement would give the EPA authority to require companies to provide safety data for untested chemicals and also prevent chemicals from coming to market if they haven’t been tested for safety.
It also removes the 90-day limit for the EPA to determine chemical risks and, at least on the surface, eliminates a requirement that chemical regulations had to take into account the cost of compliance. Other notable improvements include:3
The EPA will be required to determine whether a chemical meets a set safety standard before it enters the market. The EPA must consider a chemical’s effects on particularly vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and children. The EPA must quickly review chemicals known to persist in the environment and build up in humans. Companies will no longer be allowed to keep data secret due to “trade secret” and other confidentiality claims.
The EPA has already identified 90 chemicals as high priority, and such chemicals are supposed to take precedence.
However, the bill’s language was created after close work with the American Chemistry Council in order to ensure it would “win the support of industry.”4 As such, while the bill requires the EPA to begin conducting safety tests on roughly 64,000 chemicals, they only have to test 20 chemicals at a time.
Further, each chemical has a seven-year deadline, such that it will be a very long time before potentially toxic chemicals stop being used. As Bloomberg reported:5
“An analysis by the Environmental