START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Nov 6, 2010

Flaws of the Toxic Substances Control Act

EDF's Richard Denison testifies before a House subcommittee (February 2009) on the urgent need for chemical policy reform.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which Congress passed in September of 1976, was supposed to give Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to identify and regulate dangerous chemicals. The law was also supposed to require chemical companies to give Americans the information needed to assess the safety of their products.

The "grandfather" problem

Unfortunately, TSCA "grandfathered in" some 62,000 chemicals in use at the time it was enacted—that is, chemical companies could keep selling them without safety testing. Today, most chemicals on the market are among those original 62,000 and have never been tested.Tweet This

The "unreasonable risk" problem

TSCA contained another fatal flaw. To regulate a chemical, the law places the burden of proving a chemical is causing harm on EPA, rather than requiring chemical producers to prove their chemicals are safe. In addition, the law requires that EPA prove a chemical presents an "unreasonable risk."

In practice, this standard has been impossible for EPA to meet. The only chemicals banned under TSCA are PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), which were widely used in transformers and electrical equipment and that happened only because the ban was written by Congress into the original law.

EPA couldn't even ban asbestos, a known and deadly carcinogen.Tweet This In 1991, a federal Court of Appeals threw out EPA's regulation banning asbestos because, the court said, the agency had failed to show that asbestos posed an unreasonable risk. In the wake of this precedent, EPA never tried to ban a chemical under TSCA again.

The secrecy problem

Under TSCA, chemical companies can label as trade secrets virtually any of the information they submit to EPA about their products. And EPA, the law states, may not share information claimed as secret with the public, with state or local governments, or with the governments of other countries.

The chemical industry is highly competitive, and some protection for research and trade secrets is reasonable. But the chemical industry has exploited this loophole to claim that information about 95% of their new chemicals should be secret.Tweet This They make the same claim even about many chemicals for which they are required to submit health and safety data.

EPA can challenge these claims. But TSCA says they must be contested on a case-by-case basis, and the agency simply hasn't the resources to examine more than a tiny percentage of the thousands of claims made each year.

The result? The identities of almost 20% of the tens of thousands of chemicals in commercial use in the United States—from flame retardants to laundry detergent additives—are kept secret from consumers, scientists and government regulators.Tweet This And even health and safety information, which under TSCA is supposed to be ineligible for trade secret protection, is routinely claimed by companies to be confidential, rendering the information inaccessible to the public.

Posted: 31-May-2010; Updated: 31-May-2010

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Saturday November 6, 2010, 12:14 pm
Tags: [add/edit tags]

Group Discussions
Comments
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:

Author

Bertram Johnson
male , married, 3 children
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
BERTRAM'S SHARES
Aug
1
(0 comments  |  discussions )
IF YOU LIVE IN METRO ATLANTA GA. KNOW NEED TO BE CONCERNED WITH HARMFUL PESTICIDES TO BE PLACED IN AND AROUND YOUR HOME! YOU AND YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE ONES AND PETS CAN REST ASURE THAT  NO PESTICIDES, AND HARMFUL CHEMICALS WILL BE USED TO CONTROL IN...
Sep
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
The Green Thing\r\n > ================\r\n >\r\n > In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she\r\n > should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren\'t good\r\n > for the environment.\r\n >\r\n > The woman apo...
May
19
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\n\r\n Introduction\r\nThis fact sheet provides basic information about the herb black cohosh—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a plant native to Nort...
May
18
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\n\n \r\n\r\nOn this page:\r\n\n\r\n\r\nIntrod uction\r\nThis fact sheet provides basic information about bitter orange—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. The bitter orange tree is native to eastern Africa and...


SHARES FROM BERTRAM'S NETWORK
Feb
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nIn a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council nineteen states opposed the approval of  GM Maize Pioneer 1507, developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemica l, while five supported it and four abstained from any view, EU officials s...
Feb
11
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\r\nHow to spread the news\r\n02/11/14\r\n\r\nT his is really awfull, i did write many hosst announcements, but they dissapeared, luckely
Jan
21
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\nEuro pe’s depressed carbon markets are to be given an automatic ‘market reserve’ facility allowing at least 100 million carbon allowances – or 12% of the market – to be withheld or released to buoy prices, ac...
Jan
12
(5 comments  |  discussions )
I shared 3 times the smae story with different types, so one of them would show up in my group Greenforever, but NOOOO, nothing is there, strangely enoough old shares come up, i am sure i shared much more the last months but in hostshares it ends 6 mo...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nIf car sales were an Olympic sport, then China would take the gold medal.\\r\\nAccording to recent data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the country sold more than 20 million new cars domestically in 2013, a global sales record ...


MORE MESSAGE
Mar 31
Message: what's going on?... by Apolonia P.
(1 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nZEN was suspended by Eric with no warning. We don\\\'t know any reasons nor how long it will last....\\r\\nI asked about it on the forum but my post was immediately deleted. 2 threads and petitions about Zen also. And 2 her help-groups. :-(\\r\\nUntill to... more
Feb 17
Message: Petitions that stop abuse to the speechless by Aza A.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nCan someone please tell me why petitions that want to end animal abuse,end the on going pain being inflected on the poor helpless animals. Paim that only ends when the animal dies.\\r\\nIs it that the 23 plus million members don\\\'t care or understand ... more
Message: Thanks by Gail B.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nThank you all for the warm welcome, still learn how to use the site.\\r\\nMay the grounds you set your feet upon be blessed every step of the way.\\n more
Feb 15
Message: My Daughter's Friend Needs Help by Cameron F.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nThis is Venus Marquez\\\'s friend, Gina Arellano. Venus is a friend of my daughter Nikka.  She seems to be covered in rashes/sores due to possibly chickenpox and needs to raise at least 200 Euros - about $275 US - to cover medical expenses.\\r\\nIf... more
Feb 13
Message: Free Puppy Ads In Terrifying Abundance! by Karen O.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions ) — I was so upset, when on my homepage, in the news section...there appearred, all sorts of advertisements all over, for free puppies...these are surely going to reappear in the future,  as horrific abuse cases.  What is wrong with people? Do t... more
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.