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Pingree votes for reforms to better protect consumers from toxic chemicals

Says current system of regulating chemicals is ineffective

Says current system of regulating chemicals is ineffective

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree voted tonight for a bipartisan bill to reform the nation's system for regulating toxic chemicals that are used in toys, clothing, furniture and other consumer goods. 

The bill passed the House tonight 398-1.

"This isn't a perfect bill.  It could be stronger to better protect families and communities, but it is an improvement over the broken system we have now.  And it protects laws in states like Maine that are already on the books."

The bill, H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, creates significant reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  In cases where the EPA sets new standards for chemicals, the bill preserves any current state laws that are tougher than the federal standards.

"One of the problems with the old system is it looks first at the cost to chemical companies instead of the risk to consumers," Pingree said.  "This bill puts the emphasis where it should be—on the risk to families and communities."

TSCA was first passed in 1976.  Since its inception, 88,000 chemicals have been allowed on the market and only five have been partially regulated.

The TSCA reform bill that Pingree voted for tonight would:

Empower EPA to regulate existing chemicals.
H.R. 2576 addresses two of the major challenges EPA has faced in regulating existing chemicals by 1) removing the requirement that EPA impose the “least burdensome” option when regulating a chemical, and 2) by establishing a risk-based standard for risk management, instead of the current the cost-benefit standard for deciding whether to regulate a chemical. 

Broaden testing authority
H.R. 2576 addresses two of the major challenges EPA has faced in requiring testing of chemicals in commerce by 1) allowing EPA to require testing of chemicals through orders and consent agreements, not just rulemakings, and 2) by authorizing EPA to seek data when needed for a risk evaluation without having to first demonstrate that the chemical might be dangerous.

Protect vulnerable populations
H.R. 2576 provides explicit protections for vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, workers, and minority communities.  These protections include requirements that any identified risks to vulnerable populations posed by a chemical, are addressed in risk management.

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