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June 2012 | See all news in this issue

Chemical regulation in the spotlight…

Federal oversight of potentially dangerous chemicals is increasingly in the spotlight these days in Washington:

• Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, is the prime sponsor behind The Safe Chemicals Act, which is the first major re-write of the 35-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Since TSCA was passed in the 1970s, EPA has been able to review only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals in its inventory. Both consumer safety groups and chemical industry organizations are working with Lautenberg to update this antiquated law.

• Controversy continues to surround the federal government’s official listing of carcinogenic substances, the National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens (ROC). A congressional spending bill directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a study of the research methods used in developing the ROC and specifically look into the research on formaldehyde and styrene. The American Chemical Council has urged HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to delay release of the new ROC listing until that study is complete.

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