The U.S. Senate has passed the bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a chemical safety reform bill intended to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).
According to Udall, the TSCA is the last of the major environmental laws passed in the 1960s and 70s that has not yet been modernized.
In the 39 years since the TSCA was enacted, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been able to restrict just five chemicals, and has prevented only four chemicals from going to market — out of more than 23,000 new chemicals manufactured since 1976.
“This bill is the product of years of collaboration and positive input from lawmakers across the country, who understand that we need a national solution to our broken chemical safety law,” Udall said in a statement. “It will ensure that Americans in New Mexico and all states have necessary protections from toxic chemicals. With thousands of chemicals in existence, and as many as 1,500 new chemicals coming on the market each year, 39 years is too long to go without protections for children and families.”
The bill is named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who worked for many years to reform the TSCA. It sets new safety standards and strengthens government control over chemical regulation.
Next, the bill must be reconciled with the U.S. House of Representatives-passed legislation on the same topic.