Contact: Scott Jensen (202) 249-6511  

WASHINGTON (May 3, 2013) - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) progress on regulating chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) . In response to the report, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement:

"The GAO report recognizes some of the recent progress EPA has made in collecting and sharing more information about chemicals and acknowledges the steps the Agency has taken to identify high-priority chemicals for further review. ACC has long-supported EPA's authority to review and regulate chemicals, including these recent actions by the Agency. EPA recently published five chemical assessments that represent a very important next step in the Agency's efforts.

"The GAO report comes up short on some key issues. GAO's assertion that the burden for developing test data falls on EPA is inaccurate. Under TSCA, that requirement to provide test data is, and will continue to be, fulfilled by chemical manufacturers. The report also suggests inaccurately that EPA should be able to access all REACH data through TSCA Section 8 rulemaking. The report wholly ignores what existing data may already be available to EPA and assumes, without support, that all REACH data are relevant to EPA reviews. More importantly, the report fails to acknowledge that data sharing under REACH is constrained by legal contracts that govern the work of the European consortia that developed the REACH data.

"We are also concerned with the way GAO characterizes the  IRIS program and the role it plays in TSCA risk assessments. IRIS is a program of the Office of Research and Development, not TSCA. Further, the GAO fails in the report to recognize longstanding problems with the IRIS program and the NAS' conclusion that the scientific quality, transparency and the pace of IRIS assessments need improving.

"Some provisions of TSCA are working today. But, as the GAO report suggests, all stakeholders can agree that we must update our federal chemical management system to ensure EPA has the most up to date and scientifically sound tools to ensure chemicals are safe for their intended uses. ACC is strongly committed to updating TSCA and advancing a workable legislative proposal in this Congress that will improve safety and promote public confidence in our nation's chemicals management system."

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