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"Modernization" of Nation’s Chemical Safety Law Could Undermine Public Health

Proposed reforms to the nation’s chemical safety law — the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — threaten to undermine public health and innovation, according to a study released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). A broad array of environmental and industrial interests are lobbying Congress for TSCA reform, claiming that “modernization” is necessary because the law’s risk standard and other provisions are insufficient.

In The Real Meaning of "TSCA Modernization": The Shift from Science-Based Standards to Over-Precaution, CEI senior fellow Angela Logomasini, Ph.D., explains that TSCA’s existing risk-based standard is one of the best on the books. It demands regulatory accountability, applying many of the measures found in regulatory reform proposals such as the Obama Administration’s Executive Order 13563 on regulatory reform.

“Rather than failing to serve public health, the TSCA’s existing standards hold regulators accountable, ensuring that regulations do not needlessly undermine innovation or produce adverse public health effects,” says Logomasini. “We should demand at least that much from any government regulation.”

Congressional TSCA reform proposals, such as S. 847 offered by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), all strike at the heart of these accountability standards, calling instead for a less scientific—allegedly more precautionary—standard. These approaches would facilitate needless bans and regulations of chemical technologies that currently help maintain the safety of our food supply, produce our medicines, and meet other vital needs.

“Modernization proposals will most likely empower regulators to take TSCA regulations in an arbitrary and capricious direction, undermining health, innovation, and economic growth,” said Logomasini.

Read the full study.

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