SOCMA Advocates Targeted Toxics Reform - SMEs Ask Congress, EPA to Preserve ChAMP
February 27, 2009
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Assistant Manager, Public Relations
Washington, DC – As part of its “First 100 Days” effort, the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) is putting pressure on the U.S. government to exercise caution as it approaches reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) this year. SOCMA, whose members are primarily small and medium-sized businesses, is promoting an approach to TSCA reform that focuses on preservation of the recent Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP).
In a hearing Thursday before U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Energy and Commerce Committee, SOCMA encouraged Congress to avoid sweeping changes and to preserve a risk-based approach to chemicals management through ChAMP. Jim DeLisi, president of the New Jersey-based SOCMA member company, Fanwood Chemical, presented testimony on “Revisiting the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.”
SOCMA opposes drastic overhauls to chemicals management similar to those being implemented in the European Union (EU). Such changes could cripple the development of new products and further hasten the off-shoring of American manufacturing, with little change in industry’s ability to protect human health and the environment. Historically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has assessed the risk of a chemical through analysis of both the chemical’s intrinsic hazard properties and the potential routes of exposure when making regulatory decisions. Data requirements have been driven by the intended and foreseeable use and disposal of a chemical.
“In order to tackle the chemical assessment challenges we face in an even more challenging economy, we should maintain a science-based framework, fully implement existing authorities, and maximize programmatic and collaborative efforts like ChAMP,” Mr. DeLisi said. However, he added, “the TSCA program will need to be adequately funded and provided with resources to accomplish its mission of protecting human health and the environment.”
SOCMA president Joseph Acker also voiced strong support for ChAMP in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Mr. Acker congratulated Jackson on her appointment and highlighted the opportunity for a working partnership with industry on chemicals management. One of the major objections of activists to TSCA has been concern that insufficient data exists for a number of chemicals on the TSCA inventory. Many of these chemicals, however, have been out of commerce in the U.S. for some time. As part of ChAMP, EPA has initiated action to reset the TSCA inventory to more accurately identify chemicals currently in commerce. Mr. Acker also suggested that under TSCA Section 8(e), requiring U.S. companies aware of adverse data to submit this data to the EPA, data collection efforts can be leveraged by U.S. manufacturers from their EU compliance efforts as a means of filling in data gaps.
“Much of the debate over TSCA’s role has remained the same – and it will probably continue to do so,” said Mr. Acker. “This is not to say that this issue does not need to be revisited. The prior administration recognized that the time had come to revitalize TSCA, which is why the Agency has been putting so much effort into implementing [ChAMP].”
To read Mr. DeLisi’s testimony before the House Subcommittee and Mr. Acker’s letter to Administrator Jackson, or more on SOCMA’s work on chemical risk management, please visit SOCMA’s website.
SOCMA is the leading trade association, serving the specialty-batch and custom chemical industry since 1921. SOCMA’s nearly 300 members employ more than 100,000 workers across the country and produce 50,000 products valued at $60 billion annually. For more information please visit www.socma.com.
ChemStewards® is SOCMA’s flagship environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) continuous performance improvement program. ChemStewards was created from industry’s commitment to reducing the environmental footprint left by member’s facilities. Industry created ChemStewards to meet the unique needs of the batch, custom, and specialty chemical industry. As a mandatory requirement for SOCMA members engaged in the manufacturing or handling of synthetic and organic chemicals, ChemStewards is helping participants reach for superior EHS&S performance. To learn more visit www.chemstewards.com.