After years of unsuccessful attempts, Congress is getting closer to achieving modernization of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. On June 23, 2015, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2576 by a 398-1 vote. In the meantime, the bipartisan Senate TSCA modernization bill, S.697, is expected to receive floor consideration next month. If the Senate passes S.697, then a conference committee of the two chambers will work to create a unified bill, which would be sent back to the House and Senate for passage.
H.R. 2576 is more narrowly targeted than the Senate bill. But both bills have encountered resistance on issues of preemption of state law, protection of confidential business information, and standards for EPA regulation of chemicals. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is the most vociferous opponent of measures that would dilute states’ rights to regulate chemicals, and introduced her own bill, S.725, in March 2015. That bill has been sent to committee for review.
TSCA modernization has come a long way, but still has a long way to go.