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Emerging theme at this year’s GlobalChem: Partnerships lead to progress

GlobalChem presents a great opportunity to bring industry leaders, the regulatory community and other stakeholders together to discuss the important roles each of us can play to improve how chemicals are managed.

Based on Monday’s pre-conference TSCA fundamentals workshops and Tuesday’s regulatory discussions, this year’s GlobalChem has proven no different.

Forging partnerships, at home and abroad

A clear theme has already emerged from this year’s conference: forging partnerships at home and abroad.

Only by working together can we make real, tangible progress in chemical regulation in the decade ahead, ACC President & CEO Cal Dooley noted in his welcoming remarks Tuesday morning:

[quote]The international presence at this year’s conference is a reminder that we have reached an important juncture for chemicals management and the global economy. In addition to moving TSCA modernization forward here in the U.S., strengthening international regulatory cooperation will be critical to enhancing safety, fostering innovation, boosting exports and driving real, tangible growth around the world. It is in this very real way that we can ensure that the benefits of chemistry are realized worldwide.[/quote]

ACC and EPA working together to address regulatory delays

On Monday, following an EPA-led session on a Sustainable Futures Program that seeks to make new chemicals safer, available faster and reduce the burden for both the government and industry, Shannon Gainey, product stewardship manager for Evonik Corporation, made note of how ACC and EPA had begun working together as early as 2010 to address delays with Premanufacture Notices (PMNs) and Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) for some classes of substances.

After industry submitted case studies on PMN delays at 2010′s GlobalChem, EPA presented important changes the following year, including how the Agency added new staff to expedite the review process. Industry and EPA met again in August 2012 to review additional delays and to work together to fix them. This is a good example of how improved communications between regulators and the regulated community can lead to more timely decisions.

It also underscores the importance of being an active, constructive partner in helping EPA strengthen and improve our current federal chemicals management system. That’s why ACC and our members supported EPA’s new Chemical Data Reporting rule, which improves how the Agency collects and shares important chemical use and exposure information.

We have also been actively engaged in EPA’s work plan chemicals review program, which marks a significant enhancement in how EPA prioritizes and assesses chemicals.

Additionally, ACC has supported EPA’s efforts to review and process confidential business information (CBI) claims to ensure claims are up to date and justified.

Why confidential business information matters

Tuesday morning, we heard speakers offer their unique perspectives on confidential business information and the importance of CBI protection to innovation and competitiveness.

Terry Medley, Global Director of Corporate Regulatory Affairs and Advocacy at DuPont, said that a modernized TSCA is one that we all need to work together to get right. That means protecting the environment and human health, while also protecting legitimate CBI claims. “If we simply give innovation away,” Medley remarked, “there is no longer a reason to innovate.”

Julie Froelicher with Procter & Gamble’s Global Product Stewardship group echoed Medley’s words, calling for “smart, thoughtful and workable” TSCA modernization, with an emphasis on safety and protecting confidential chemical identities. Why protect some chemical identities? Because millions of dollars of R&D investment go into developing new chemicals, many of which go into products that enhance our lives in some way. CBI is “essential to innovation,” Froelicher added.

Finally, we heard from Beth Bosley, President of Boron Specialties, a small specialty chemical business that recently hired its seventh employee. Bosley made clear that, because her company doesn’t have millions of dollars to spend on filing and executing patents, they rely on trade secret protections afforded to them by TSCA. Without the ability to file CBI claims, companies like Boron Specialties could lose their competitive edge.

This year’s GlobalChem has made it clear that by continuing to work together through an inclusive process, stakeholders from all perspectives can create an effective regulatory environment that restores public confidence in the safety of chemicals, enables chemical manufacturers to remain competitive globally, and ensures the U.S. can hold its position as the world’s leading innovator.

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