American Chemistry Matters: Driving Innovation, Creating Jobs and Enhancing Safety

Re: “Think Those Chemicals Have Been Tested?” in Sunday’s NYT

ACC’s members are serious about their responsibility to produce chemistries that offer important safety, performance and durability benefits and that can be used safely.

Our members undertake extensive scientific analyses to evaluate potential risk of their chemicals, from development through use and safe disposal. We work with regulators, retailers and manufacturers to provide them with information about our chemicals. And we are constantly exploring ways to do a better job of providing useful safety information about chemicals to the public.

We agree that it is time to update the primary law that regulates the safety of chemicals in commerce, the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). For that to happen, we must be sure that everyone has a full understanding of how chemical safety is currently being regulated and what Congress needs to do to reform TSCA.

Unfortunately, the New York Times makes many wrong assumptions of its own that leave readers with the wrong impression when it comes to chemical safety.

TSCA is not the only law in place to oversee the safety of chemicals. In fact, more than a dozen federal laws govern the safe manufacture and use of chemicals. And while we believe the current federal system to regulate chemicals is robust, we also support meaningful efforts to strengthen chemical oversight.

ACC strongly supports updating TSCA to be sure that EPA has the tools it needs to regulate chemicals. To help make that happen we continue to work with EPA to find ways to improve the current law, and support recent changes that have improved the way the Agency collects and shares information with the public about chemicals as well as a new effort to review over 100 specific chemicals. We also support the effort to advance legislation to reform TSCA in Congress so the law continues to put safety first, while also enabling America to retain its place as the world’s leading innovator.

The Safe Chemicals Act will not meet this goal. We appreciate Senator Lautenberg’s leadership but his legislative proposal would impose requirements on the EPA that are impossible for the Agency to meet, which would mean consumers would ultimately not be better off.  Because of this, the bill has not attracted the kind of bipartisan support that will be needed to win passage in Congress.

That’s why ACC supports the effort being led by Senator Vitter that will take a new comprehensive approach to act in a smarter, better-informed and timelier way to produce better results on behalf of the American people.

Rather than make assumptions or jump to conclusions, we encourage the New York Times and its readers to take the time to get the full picture of the regulations and agencies that oversee the safe use of chemicals, and to reserve judgment of Senator Vitter’s proposal until the bill is actually introduced.

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