CHARLESTON–A diverse selection of
stakeholders has praised the U.S. Senate’s passage of Frank R.
Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va), which updates
regulations on the use of toxic substances that are now governed under a
hodgepodge of federal and state laws.
Supporters ranging from People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Dow Chemical Company hailed the bill, which
passed the Senate by a voice vote and now heads to President Obama to be signed into law.
like the Freedom Industries spill in Charleston demonstrate the need to ensure
that the chemicals we use in our everyday live are properly regulated,” Capito said in a statement issued by her office.
Its passage is “good news for the economy, our communities and the environment.”
The Lautenberg Act amends and revises the previous Toxic
Substances Control Act (TSCA), which governed the regulation of chemicals for the
last 40 years. The new bill sets standards that aim to ensure that unreasonable
risks to the health of individuals or the environment are not created by
exposure to chemicals that are being used in a variety of commercial and
The original TSCA bill was enacted in 1976, a
vanguard decade for environmental laws. But scientific advances since that date
required adjustments to the regulations. The Lautenberg Act is also anticipated
to help regulators adapt further controls as new science advances come on line.
Among the Lautenberg Act’s key provisions are rules
that will help reduce and replace the use of animals in product testing.
Jessica Sandler, the vice president for regulatory testing at PETA, told the West Virginia Record that modernizing requirements
for the way chemicals are tested in the U.S. reflects the changes that have
already been taking place in the last 20 years, which have derived from greater
understanding of how biological processes work.
“This understanding has allowed for the development
of testing methods that can look directly at what happens in humans, rather than
using the crude and unreliable results that come from poisoning animals,”
Dow Chemical spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra told
the West Virginia Record that outdated federal regulations had long been in
need of reform.
“A lack of confidence in dated federal chemical safety regulations
resulted in individual states creating their own chemicals management laws and
some retailers pulling products from their shelves…," she said. "As a result, the regulatory
landscape and marketplace became fractured and contradictory in some cases.”
The Dow Chemical Company also issued a statement
from Chairman/CEO Andrew N. Liveris, praising the bill’s passage, saying that
it created “regulatory certainty” that will help drive investment in future
The federal Environmental Protection Agency will
require chemical manufacturers to pay fees to defray costs associated with
additional regulations, and has established a fund to receive the fees.
Obama is also expected to establish an interagency Sustainable Chemistry
Program, which will coordinate federal sustainable chemistry research and use