- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Jackson discussed legislation to be introduced in both Houses of Congress that would create specific EPA mechanisms and authorities to target chemicals of concern, and promptly assess and regulate new and existing chemicals in commerce.
The proposal included the following recommendations:
- Chemicals should be reviewed against risk-based safety standards based on sound science and protective of human health and the environment
- Manufacturers should provide the EPA with the necessary information to conclude that new and existing chemicals are safe and do not endanger public health or the environment
- The EPA should have clear authority to take risk management actions when chemicals do not meet the safety standard, with flexibility to take into account sensitive subpopulations, costs, social benefits, equity and other relevant consideration
- Manufacturers and the EPA should assess and act on priority chemicals, both existing and new, in a timely manner
- Green Chemistry should be encouraged and provisions assuring transparency and public access to information should be strengthened.
- The EPA should be given a sustained source of funding for implementation
Jackson said legislation is expected to be introduced soon by fellow Democrats, Sens. Barbara Boxer, Calif., and Frank Lautenberg, N.J., and Reps. Henry Waxman, Calif., and Bobby Rush, Ill. The Obama Administration's Essential Principles for Reform of Chemicals Management Legislation are expected to be very similar to the legislation ultimately to be introduced by Boxer, et al.
The plan includes the development of chemical action plans which will outline the agency's risk management efforts on those chemicals of greatest concern. Jackson said the EPA has identified an initial list of chemicals for possible risk management action, and anticipates completing and posting an initial set of four action plans in December. The agency will complete and post additional chemical action plans in four-month intervals thereafter.
Other efforts will include filling the current gaps in health and safety data on high production volume chemicals; enhanced, transparent, and more current reporting of use and exposure information; and a number of requirements for increased reporting on nanoscale chemical materials.
Prioritizing chemicals for future risk management action is the final component of this effort; the EPA intends to formally engage stakeholders and the public in this discussion in the coming months.