On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, providing significant new authority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to govern both new and existing chemicals.  This bipartisan effort amends the 40-year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and marks the first major update to an environmental statute in 20 years.

The changes come with broad support from major business groups and will reduce a number of inconsistent state-based chemical initiatives and give manufacturers regulatory certainty.  AGC tracked this effort as it moved through the House and the Senate; and the association will work with EPA, where warranted, to provide feedback on the implementation.

The law takes effect immediately and the new chemical review process will likely see the first of many changes.  According to EPA’s website, the agency is now required to make an affirmative determination on a new chemical or significant new use of an existing chemical before manufacturing can commence and proceed to the marketplace.  The agency also must evaluate existing chemicals, address those most likely to cause risks first, increase public transparency for chemical information, and collect funding to carry out its responsibilities under the law.

Visit EPA’s website to view the text of the Act, a summary of key provisions, and answers to frequently asked questions on the new law.  Additional material, including an implementation plan on activities that are required in the first year, will be posted in the coming weeks.

For more information, contact Scott Berry at berrys@agc.org or Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org