LCSA funded through December 9

We have some good news out of Congress: the federal budget extension passed late last week includes $3 million for implementing the newly-reformed Toxic Substances Control Act. LCSA, or the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate chemicals of high priority in a timely manner.

LCSA was the result of more than three years of negotiations between businesses, chemical industry representatives, environmentalists and health officials. It provides a uniform methodology for introducing new chemicals into the market, and evaluating the safety of both new and existing chemicals in a way which takes actual exposure risk into consideration.

That last part is exceptionally important – a patchwork of state regulations filled the void where the prior law failed. Some, such as California’s Proposition 65, were even based on flawed methodologies. LSCA will now act as the “gold standard” by conducting risk-based evaluations (will a substance cause harm) rather than the chemophobic hazard-based regulations (can any amount ever cause harm) which some organizations use today. Although existing state regulations such as California’s Proposition 65, it is our hope that novel evaluations out of the EPA will inform future regulatory decisions.

The $3 million in funding ensures that the U.S. EPA will stay on track to exhaustively evaluate the highest priority chemicals. We hope existing misinformation can be more easily disposed of as the U.S. EPA begins to release its risk-based evaluations.